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Georgia Court Upholds Will Donating Part of an Estate to Charity

Deceased was not a victim of 'undue influence,' court says.

Yancey v. Hall, 458 S.E.2d 121 (Ga. 1995)
Key point. A gift of property to a church that is contained in a decedent's will can be invalidated if the gift was the product of "undue influence."

A Georgia court ruled that a gift of a portion of an estate to a church agency was not invalid on the ground that the attorney who drafted the will suggested the charity.

A man (the deceased) went to an attorney to have a will drafted. The deceased had no surviving spouse or children, and left $50,000 of his estate to a niece and $1,000 to a nephew. The smaller amount distributed to the nephew was based on the deceased's expressed belief that his nephew was a ne'er do well who drank a lot. The deceased expressed a desire to leave the balance of his estate to charity, and the attorney suggested a particular church agency. The deceased agreed with this recommendation, and a will was ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • May 1, 1996

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