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In re Estate of Beauregard
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
921 N.E.2d 954 (2010)
Marc Beauregard executed a will, maintained possession of the original, and died five weeks later. After Beauregard’s death, no one was able to locate the original will document. Steven Knight (plaintiff) had shared a home with Beauregard. Knight claimed that he had found a copy of Beauregard’s will in their shared home and that this copy left most of Beauregard’s estate to Knight. Knight submitted the will copy to the probate court. However, under the common law, a presumption existed that the original will could not be located because Beauregard had intentionally destroyed the original will in order to revoke it. The probate court ruled that Knight had not rebutted this presumption and denied Knight’s petition to probate a copy of the presumably revoked will. Without a valid will, Beauregard was treated as having died intestate, and Beauregard’s entire estate went to his parents. Knight appealed, and the appellate court affirmed the ruling. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court agreed to review the case.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, C.J.)
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