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Shimp v. Huff

Court of Appeals of Maryland
A.2d 252 (1989)


Facts

Lester Shimp and his wife, Clara, executed a joint will, which granted the residue of the survivor’s estate to, among others, Mary Huff (Huff). The joint will stated that Lester and Clara intended to dispose of their property according to the common plan set out in the joint will, and that neither of them could amend or revoke the joint will after the death of the other. After Clara’s death, Lester filed suit for declaratory relief, requesting the right to execute a new will. The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that the joint will represented a valid, binding contract between Lester and Clara, and that while the will itself could be revoked or amended, the underlying contract to dispose of property in the manner set out in the will could be enforced by specific performance upon Lester’s death. Lester remarried, to Lisa Mae. At the time of his death, Lester had not revoked the joint will or executed a new will. Lisa Mae (plaintiff) filed an election for a statutory share of Lester’s estate, which Huff (defendant), as personal representative, refused to pay. Lisa Mae filed suit with the circuit court, seeking a declaratory judgment that she was entitled to an elective share of Lester’s estate.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Murphy, C.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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