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In re Estate of Henault

G025278, 2002 WL 1335602 (2002)

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In re Estate of Henault

California Court of Appeal

G025278, 2002 WL 1335602 (2002)

Facts

Eric Henault was close friends with Charles Castagna (plaintiff) and Castagna’s wife. Henault was HIV positive, and his health began failing. Castagna took Henault to a store where Henault created a will. Henault then signed the will at the Castagnas’ house in front of Castagna’s wife and two impartial witnesses. The witnesses believed that Henault was mentally sound and knew what he was doing. Henault’s will gave his house to Castagna. Henault divided up the rest of his estate, giving half to Castagna, 10 percent to Henault’s friend, Jen Atkinson (defendant), and 40 percent to one of Henault’s brothers (defendant). The other members of Henault’s family (defendants) each got $1. Over the next two weeks, Henault gave Castagna power of attorney to make decisions about Henault’s interests and healthcare. Henault also transferred his house to Castagna and himself as joint tenants and made Castagna the beneficiary of Henault’s retirement-savings account. After Henault died, his siblings and Atkinson objected to the will. The trial court ruled that the will was invalid because it was the product of undue influence from Castagna. Castagna appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fybel, J.)

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