Will Contest – Mineral Assets

An attorney from Ohio hired attorney Michael Young to contest the will of her father. Her father had executed a will disinheriting her, under suspicious circumstances set in place by her half-siblings. Her siblings saw an opportunity to profit from the illness and impending death of the father.

He executed the will while he was hospitalized. He suffered from kidney failure, likely the result of years of alcohol abuse and of diabetes. By the date of the will, his prognosis was grim. Within approximately one week, he was transferred to hospice care and died only a few days later.  According to at least one witness, Decedent was “out of it” and “combative” with his caregivers.

The will left everything to only two of his three children, of course, the two who happened to be around him in his last weeks.

Attorney Michael Young filed a will contest in Tarrant County probate court, asserting lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence. The will itself reflected a lack of care and planning. It appeared to have been prepared from a form and was obtained by the two children who were left everything. Critically, the will reflects that Decedent was not even aware of his own family. It stated he only had two children, identifying client’s siblings by name and omitting any reference to the client. This was factually untrue and provided powerful evidence he lacked testamentary capacity and was also unduly influenced by the client’s siblings.

Shortly after filing the contest petition, attorney Young was contacted by the attorney who represented client’s siblings. They wanted to settle. The case was resolved with client receiving valuable mineral oil and gas interests in West Texas, part of the Permian Basin shale formation.