A Surry County Superior Court has rejected a challenge to the last will and testament representing a $1 million estate led by a man who claimed his deceased brother was incapable of making the will.
The court granted summary judgment to the family friend named as the estate’s beneficiary.
Glenn Creed was 91 at the time of his death, and he had no wife or children. According to his will, Creed’s $1 million estate from his days as a farmer was to go to a close family friend.
But when Glenn Creed died, his brother Ray filed a challenge to the will.
Ray Creed argued the will should be considered invalid because Glenn Creed allegedly did not have the mental capacity to draft a will, given his age and because he could not read or write.
The beneficiary of the estate, the propounder, hired Kirk Sanders of Hendrick Bryant Nerhood Sanders & Otis in Winston-Salem to defend him in the will caveat proceeding.
“This was an all or nothing case. If the propounder lost, he would get nothing from the estate,” said Sanders, whose practice focuses on making and defending challenges to wills.
During a deposition, Ray Creed admitted he had attempted to have his own attorney draft a will on Glenn Creed’s behalf.
“That wasn’t really very helpful to his case,” Sanders said. “It was pointed out that if Glenn had the capacity to approve a will for him, then he had the capacity to do a will three weeks earlier.”
Sanders said his client’s case also benefitted from an affidavit submitted by the attorney who drafted two wills for Glenn Creed — one that was drawn up shortly before Glenn Creed’s death and another that was drafted seven years prior.
The affidavit said both wills named the family friend as the beneficiary of the estate.
The affidavit also said Glenn Creed drove himself to the drafting attorney’s office seven years ago and was clear about how the will should be executed.
In light of the affidavit, Judge Patrice Hinnant awarded summary judgment to the estate, meaning the propounder will receive the entire estate.
DEFENSE RULING – WILL CAVEAT
Amount: $1 million
Case name: In Re: Estate of Creed
Case: Surry County Superior Court
Case No.: 12 E 593
Date of verdict: Jan. 11, 2016
Attorney for defendant: Kirk Sanders of Hendrick Bryant Nerhood Sanders & Otis in Winston-Salem
Attorney for plaintiff: Kevin Altman, Winston-Salem-based solo practitioner