In re Estate of Watts

67 Ill. App. 3d 463, 384 N.E.2d 589, 23 Ill. Dec. 795 (1979)

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In re Estate of Watts

Illinois Appellate Court
67 Ill. App. 3d 463, 384 N.E.2d 589, 23 Ill. Dec. 795 (1979)

  • Written by Rose VanHofwegen, JD

Facts

When Laura Watts died, she left a will that made specific bequests to named beneficiaries and devised the rest of her estate to Carl Manhart, with Virginia and Frank Warren as contingent beneficiaries of her residuary estate. Three witnesses had signed attesting to Watts’s execution of the will—Manhart and the Warrens, who Watts also named as executors. The court admitted the will to probate, appointed Manhart and the Warrens as coexecutors, and found Melvin and Arnold Fitzpatrick were Watts’s heirs at law who would have inherited her estate had she died without a will. Nobody appealed that order or filed a will-contest suit before the statutory period to do so expired. The coexecutors filed a complaint asking the court to declare the respective rights of the beneficiaries named in the will and the heirs at law. The trial court found the will valid and ordered the estate distributed in accordance with its provisions. The Fitzpatricks appealed, seeking to either vacate that order or reverse the order admitting the will to probate, on the ground that all the attesting witnesses had an interest in Watts’s estate.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Craven J.)

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