In re Estate of Burren

994 N.E.2d 1022 (2013)

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In re Estate of Burren

Illinois Appellate Court
994 N.E.2d 1022 (2013)

SC

Facts

Steven Miner (Steven) (plaintiff) dated the daughter of Glenn Burren (Glenn). Steven and Glenn became close friends, and they continued the friendship after Steven and Glenn’s daughter broke up. After Glenn’s divorce, he began dating Steven’s mother. A few years later, Steven became a lawyer, and his friendship with Glenn continued. In November 2003, Glenn inherited over $800,000 in assets. Soon after, Glenn added Steven to his bank account, making it a joint account. In 2004 Glenn signed a will splitting his estate into five equal parts upon his death: one for each of his three children, and one for each of Steven’s two children. The will named Steven as the executor of Glenn’s estate. Glenn then wrote a series of checks to Steven over the course of the next few years that totaled almost $500,000. In 2006 Glenn gave Steven power of attorney for his healthcare and property. Upon Glenn’s death, Steven filed Glenn’s will in probate court. Glenn’s children contested the will based on undue influence. Steven testified that he did not remember why Glenn wrote him checks for such substantial amounts, but stated that he cashed the checks for Glenn, returning the cash to him. Steven acknowledged that Glenn did not receive independent legal counsel prior to writing Steven the checks or making him part of the joint bank account. The trial court ruled that the will was invalid, and it ordered Steven to pay Glenn’s estate almost $500,000 plus prejudgment interest of over $200,000. Steven appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Neville, J.)

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