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In the Matter of the Estate of Steffes

290 N.W.2d 697 (1980)

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In the Matter of the Estate of Steffes

Wisconsin Supreme Court

290 N.W.2d 697 (1980)

Facts

Mary Lou Brooks (plaintiff) left a paying job to live with Virgil Steffes at his farm. The couple had an adulterous and affectionate relationship. Brooks took on much of the farm’s domestic, livestock, and business functions. At the end of Steffes’s life, as his condition steadily worsened, Brooks provided intimate nursing care. Steffes clearly relied on and expected Brooks to go on providing all these services. Steffes spoke of wanting to pay Brooks for her services and sometimes gave her cash and other gifts. After Steffes died, Brooks asked Terry Steffes (defendant), Steffes’s son and personal representative, to give her a small portion of the father’s substantial estate. Brooks sued when the son turned down her request. The trial court awarded Brooks half the compensation she demanded.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Abrahamson, J.)

Dissent (Coffey, J.)

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