Gilbert v. Gilbert
Kentucky Court of Appeals
652 S.W.2d 663 (1983)
When Frank Gilbert died in 1979, his brother James submitted three writings to probate. First was an eight-page typewritten will prepared by an attorney that Frank signed three years earlier. Second and third were a business card and a paystub with handwriting on the backs, folded together in a sealed envelope on which Frank wrote, “This day 12/8/1978 I gave to Jim and Margaret this card which I Stated what to do.” On the business card, Frank wrote, “12/8/1978 Jim and Margaret I have appro $50,000 in Safe. See Buzz if anything happens,” and signed it. Frank kept his money in a safe at work. On the paystub, Frank wrote, “Jim & Margaret $20,000 the Rest divided Equally the other Living Survivors Bro. and Sisters,” and signed it. The court admitted all three into probate with the handwritten items admitted as a codicil, meaning James would take both his share under the typewritten will and half of $20,000 from the safe. Frank’s other siblings (plaintiffs) brought a will-contest action against James and other beneficiaries (defendants) arguing the handwritten items were a second will superseding the first, eliminating James from sharing in Frank’s estate except for the $20,000. The court construed the handwritten items as a codicil that affected only the money Frank kept in the safe, not a superseding will. The other siblings appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Paxton, J.)
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