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Kirkeby v. Covenant House

970 P.2d 241 (1998)

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Kirkeby v. Covenant House

Oregon Court of Appeals

970 P.2d 241 (1998)

Facts

In 1989, Margaret Kirkeby created and validly executed a will. In 1992, Kirkeby created and signed a new will that was intended to replace the 1989 will. Over the telephone, Kirkeby told Patricia Horton, a notary that Kirkeby knew personally, that Kirkeby had signed the will. Kirkeby asked Horton to notarize the document. While Kirkeby stayed home, someone else brought the will to Horton’s office, and Horton notarized Kirkeby’s signature. Later, Kirkeby called Hazel Ortega, a friend, and asked Ortega to sign the notarized will as a witness. While Kirkeby again stayed home, someone else brought the will to Ortega’s house, and Ortega signed it. James Pullen, a neighbor, also signed the will as a witness without ever speaking to Kirkeby. The entire signed document was given to Kirkeby, and she kept it until she died a few months later. Kirkeby’s brother-in-law (plaintiff) filed a petition challenging the 1992 will, claiming that the 1992 will had not been properly executed and that Kirkeby had died intestate. Beneficiaries (defendants) named in only the 1992 will objected to the brother-in-law’s petition and argued that the 1992 will was valid. A beneficiary (defendant) of the 1989 will claimed that the 1992 will was invalid, but that the 1989 will remained valid. The trial court ruled that the 1992 will had not been validly executed, but that the 1989 will was valid. All the parties appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Haselton, J.)

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