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Succession of Cooper

830 So. 2d 1087 (2002)

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Succession of Cooper

Louisiana Court of Appeal

830 So. 2d 1087 (2002)

Facts

Mr. Cooper had three adult children (plaintiffs). After his wife of many years died, Mr. Cooper began a relationship with Juanita (defendant). Mr. Cooper became ill and was hospitalized. At that point, Mr. Cooper and Juanita had been together for nearly 20 years. During Mr. Cooper’s illness, he and Juanita were married without his children’s knowledge. Mr. Cooper contacted an attorney to prepare a testament, in which he left all of his property to Juanita, except that he left $1 to each of his children. Mr. Cooper died a few months later, and his children filed a petition to annul the probate of Mr. Cooper’s will. Mr. Cooper’s children alleged that Mr. Cooper lacked testamentary capacity and also alleged that Juanita had exerted undue influence over Mr. Cooper in the disposition of his property in the testament. At trial, the attorney and two of his law firm’s employees who had witnessed Mr. Cooper’s signing of the testament provided evidence that Mr. Cooper had appeared to understand the contents of the testament and the proceedings. The trial court granted Juanita’s motion for a dismissal of Mr. Cooper’s children’s claim. Mr. Cooper’s children appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kostelka, J.)

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