In re Estate of Shumway
In In re Estate of Shumway, 197 Ariz. 57, 3 P.3d 977 (App. 1999), vacated in part, 198 Ariz. 323, 9 P.3d 1062 (2000), the testator's assistant, Rodriguez, prepared the will and received twenty-five percent of the estate.
The will included a penalty clause requiring beneficiaries to forfeit their share of the estate if they challenged the will.
Section 14-2517, A.R.S., invalidates a penalty clause when there is probable cause to challenge a will.
Shumway's daughters challenged the will on the ground of undue influence.
After a bench trial, the trial court found the will valid and enforced the penalty clause. Division One of the Court affirmed the judgment, concluding:
(1) that the trial court had not abused its discretion in finding Rodriguez had met her burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that she had not exerted undue influence over Shumway, and;
(2) that the contestants had lacked probable cause to challenge the will.