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In re Estate of Washburn

Supreme Court of New Hampshire
690 A.2d 1024 (1997)


Facts

Katherine F. Washburn executed three wills, in October 1986 and in March and April of 1992. The first will left the majority of her estate, including her home, personal effects and the residue of the estate to her sister, and alternatively to her niece, Catherine Colonna (petitioner). The March 1992 will left $5,000 to her caretaker, Barbara A. Remick (respondent) and the residue to Colonna. Washburn’s final will in April 1992 reversed the devises, leaving the residue to Remick and $5,000 to Colonna. The residue included Washburn’s home and $50,000 estate. The April 1992 will was offered for probate and Colonna filed a petition with the Rockingham County Probate Court to re-examine the will, challenging Washburn’s testamentary capacity. The probate court considered evidence that Washburn was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease at the time she executed the April 1992 will, and that this degenerative disease was diagnosed as moderate to advanced a year later in April 1993. Evidence also indicated that Washburn was confused and forgetful around the time she executed the April 1992 will, and that statements she made were inconsistent with the gifts she made in the will. The probate court determined that Washburn was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and lacked testamentary capacity to execute the April 1992 will. Remick appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence for this ruling.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Horton, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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