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Marks v. Estate of Marks
Washington Court of Appeals
957 P.2d 235 (1998)
Diana Marks became ill with cancer and arranged to stay with her friends Eldon and Judith Blanford (Judith) during treatment following surgery. Before her surgery, Marks indicated to Judith that she had to make a will before she died. Judith’s attorney suggested that Marks purchase a will kit at a stationery store. Judith purchased a will kit at Office Depot, discussed with Marks the bequests Marks wanted to make, and contacted Marks’s investment counselor to obtain information about Marks’s investments. Judith retyped the language from the will kit into her computer and inserted Marks’s bequests. Marks reviewed at least three drafts of the will. Among the bequests, Marks left $100,000 to the ministry administered by the Blanfords. Judith arranged for acquaintances to witness the signing of the will. Marks died, and her will was admitted to probate. Marks’s brother Hartwell Marks (Hartwell) (plaintiff) filed a petition against Diana’s estate (defendant) contesting the will’s validity. After trial, the court ruled that Marks’s will was valid, but because the Blanfords had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in the preparation of the will, the Blanfords and their ministry had to be divested of their bequests. Hartwell appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kurtz, J.)
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