In Shepard v. Jones, 2015 Ark. App. 279, a Pulaski County, Arkansas man’s will was found invalid after a lengthy and factually intensive trial. In this case, the man was in hospice, on pain and anti-anxiety drugs, and barely conscious when his friend literally signed the will for him by holding the pen in the dying man’s hand and signing the man’s name. In addition, the person procuring the will who was the man’s half-sister, withheld the fact that the dying man then owned $114,000 from the death of his sister. The half-sister directed that the will she had prepared for her dying half-brother leave her and a family friend $365,000 while leaving the other heirs at law sums of $15,000 or less.
The facts of this case are excellent reading and law case book example of lack of capacity and undue influence. In Arkansas, one seeking to dispose of his property by will must be able to retain in his mind, without prompting, the extent and condition of his property, to comprehend to whom he is giving it, and relations of those entitled to his property. In this case, the man had no capacity whatsoever as evidenced by the trial court record. The court’s recitation of the facts and circumstances leading up to the signing of the will is on pages 2 through 9 of the opinion.
If you have questions about the circumstances of the making of a loved one’s will, Arkansas probate and wills attorney Mark Robinette can provide you with valuable information about the law. Lawyer Mark Robinette accepts probate cases in all 72 Arkansas counties. Whether you need a full probate and administration of an estate or just probate of a will to clear title, Arkansas probate lawyer Mark Robinette can help you.