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Carter v. Carter

526 So. 2d 141 (1988)

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Carter v. Carter

Florida District Court of Appeal

526 So. 2d 141 (1988)

Facts

Catherine Carter executed two wills and one codicil during her lifetime. The first will, executed in 1971, left the residue of Catherine’s estate equally to her three sons. In 1975, the codicil altered the will to divide the one-third share given to Catherine’s son, Carl (plaintiff), between Carl, his ex-wife Virginia (defendant), and their four children. The codicil was executed shortly after Carl and Virginia divorced and was intended to ensure Carl’s children received their share of the estate. The second will was executed in 1983 and effectively revoked the codicil, granting each of Catherine’s sons an undivided, one-third share. At the time the 1983 will was executed, Carl and another of Catherine’s sons, James, actively assisted Catherine in managing her affairs. James handled Catherine’s finances, Carl maintained her house, and both helped her with any physical needs. As part of his financial management duties, James discussed with Catherine whether she wanted to make any changes to her 1971 will or 1975 codicil. Catherine informed James she wanted to prepare a new will reverting to the original testamentary scheme that gave each son a one-third share. James arranged for his attorney to draft the will in accordance with Catherine’s instructions and returned the draft will to her for review. Several days later, Carl took Catherine to the office of a different attorney to execute her will before two disinterested witnesses. Following Catherine’s death, Carl’s ex-wife, Virginia, along with David Carter (defendant), one of Carl’s four children, petitioned to revoke the 1983 will, arguing it was the product of undue influence by Carl and James. The trial court revoked the will, and Carl appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Nesbitt, J.)

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