In re Estate of Russell

This is another case where the testator was found to have capacity, yet the will was overturned due to undue influence.  Interestingly, the jury also found for the contestants on their tortious interference with inheritance claim. In affirming the jury's decision, the El Paso Court of Appeals noted in its decision:

One who by fraud, duress or other tortious means intentionally prevents another from receiving from a third person an inheritance or gift that he would otherwise have received is subject to liability to the other for loss of the inheritance or gift. Appellees respond that Kenneth, in concert with Powers, established a history of interfering with family inheritances that inured to Kenneth's benefit at Eva Lou's expense. The conflicting and contradictory testimony between Kenneth and Powers created a reasonable expectation that the jurors would discredit testimony of one or the other. We agree with Appellees that the evidence was sufficient to enable a reasonable and fair-minded jury to conclude that (1) there was an intended inheritance, and (2) Kenneth tortiously interfered with it.

The jury also found malice by the proponent, but the trial court refused to allow the punitive damages award. Tortious Interference with Texas Inheritance

TXPL, Will contestsMichael Young