Craig v. Carrigo

121 S.W.3d 154 (2003)

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Craig v. Carrigo

Arkansas Supreme Court
121 S.W.3d 154 (2003)

Facts

Earle Berrell and Erika Arndt (plaintiff) lived together in Alberta, Canada. Earle executed a holographic will leaving all his property, including personal and real property in Arkansas, to Arndt. The will did not mention Earle’s two children from previous relationships, although Earle’s prior, now-revoked will expressly manifested Earle’s intention not to provide any inheritance for his children. Upon Earle’s death, Arndt commenced probate proceedings in Alberta and an ancillary probate proceeding in Arkansas. Earle’s children, Bonita Corrigo and Edward Berrell (children) (defendants), contested the will to the extent that it excluded them. Per the children, pursuant to Arkansas law, they were Earle’s pretermitted heirs to the Arkansas real property. The trial court ruled that the children were entitled to the Arkansas real estate because they were Earle’s pretermitted children. Sharlett Craig (plaintiff), the personal representative of Earle’s estate, and Arndt appealed with respect to the disposition of Earle’s real property. Craig and Arndt contended that the trial court should have applied Alberta law in interpreting Earle’s will because Arkansas Code § 28-25-105 provided that a will that was validly executed in another jurisdiction should have the same force and effect as a will that was executed in Arkansas. Per Craig and Arndt, this meant that a will that was validly executed in Alberta should be interpreted under the laws of Alberta. Craig and Arndt further argued that Earle’s will was validly executed under Alberta law and thus that Arkansas’s law regarding pretermitted children was inapplicable. Craig and Arndt also argued that the will reflected Earle’s intent to leave his entire estate to Arndt.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Arnold, C.J.)

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