Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Wills, Trusts, and Estates

The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld the validity of a will that left a large portion of an elderly widow's estate to a Baptist university. The decedent's surviving heirs argued that the will was invalid since the decedent lacked mental capacity at the time the will was executed. To support their claim, the heirs alleged that at the time she executed her will the decedent was in a state of grief over the loss of her husband and was manifesting eccentric behavior. In addition, the heirs argued that the decedent had never expressed an interest in the university during her lifetime. Such evidence, concluded the court, fell far short of that required to establish mental incapacity. Baerlocker v. Highsmith, 730 S.W.2d 237 (Ark. 1987).

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Posted: July 1, 1987

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