In re Estate and Trust of Pilafas
Arizona Court of Appeals
836 P.2d 420 (1992)
Prior to his death in 1988, Steve J. Pilafas executed a will and a revocable inter vivos trust which he subsequently updated on two occasions. Steve funded the trust during his lifetime with assets that included a residence and other real property as well as interest in a promissory note and deed of trust on a mobile home park. The terms of the trust provided that Steve could revoke the trust during his lifetime only by delivering an “instrument in writing” to the trustee. When his son, James S. Pilafas (defendant), conducted a diligent search of Steve’s home and belongings for the original will and trust documents, he found neither. Parties challenging enforcement of the will and trust (plaintiffs) asserted that the will and trust were revoked pursuant to the common law presumption that a testator revoked his will if the will was last seen in the testator’s possession and is missing from his belongings after his death. In support of their position, they offered evidence showing that the drafting attorney turned over the final documents to Steve, that a diligent search of the house was unsuccessful and that Steve had been meticulous about keeping track of important documents. James Pilafas and other proponents of the will and trust argued that the presumption did not arise because insufficient evidence was presented at trial to show that the will was last seen in Steve’s possession and that it could not be found after his death. The trial court determined that Steve had revoked his will and accordingly died intestate. James Pilafas and the other proponents of the will and trust appealed to the Arizona Court of Appeals.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (McGregor, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 175,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.