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Estate of Gushwa

New Mexico Supreme Court
197 P.3d 1 (2008)


Facts

In 2000, George Gushwa drafted and executed a will. Gushwa’s niece, Betty Dale, and her husband, Ted, assisted. The will put property in trust for George’s wife, Zane (plaintiff), with the remainder going to Gushwa’s nieces and nephews. Ted possessed the original will. Subsequently, Gushwa apparently wished to revoke part or all of the will. In 2001, Gushwa’s attorney drafted a document titled “Revocation of Missing Will(s).” Ted first sent Gushwa three photocopied pages from the 2000 will. Gushwa wrote “Revoked” on each of the three pages and attached the pages to the Revocation of Missing Will(s). Later, Gushwa obtained a photocopy of the entire will and wrote “Revoked” on each page. Ted maintained possession of the original will. After Gushwa’s death, Zane claimed that Gushwa revoked the 2000 will and died intestate. Another one of Gushwa’s nieces, Wanda Hunt (defendant), objected to this claim. Zane also asserted that Ted fraudulently refused to return the original will to Gushwa upon request. The district court granted Wanda summary judgment. The court of appeals affirmed. The New Mexico Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bosson, J.)

Dissent (Chavez, C.J.)

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