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Friedman v. Hannan

Maryland Court of Appeals
987 A.2d 60 (2010)


Facts

James Hannan and Anna Zelinski were married. Hannan executed a will during the marriage. The will provided that if Hannan and Zelinski were to die simultaneously, their property should be divided equally among Hannan’s surviving immediate family members and the surviving immediate family members “of [his] wife.” Hannan and Zelinski divorced. Hannan died without amending his will or remarrying. Hannan did not know Zelinski’s family members prior to the marriage. Lydia Friedman (plaintiff), one of Zelinski’s immediate family members, claimed that the family members were entitled to the property under the will. Jerome Hannan (defendant), the estate’s personal representative, argued that the provision applied only during the marriage. The Baltimore County Orphans’ Court found that the provision applied only if Hannan died simultaneously with Zelinski and thus declined to admit the will into probate. The circuit court found that the provision could not be carried out on account of the divorce. Friedman appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Adkins, J.)

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