Was Challenge to Will Denied As There Was Insufficient Evidence to Show That Testator Was Under Undue Influence of Beneficiaries ?
In Lakes v. Ryan, 12th Dist. No. CA2002-05-118, 2003 Ohio 504, the person challenging the will had no contact with the testator for two years, during which time the testator executed a will that disinherited her. When the testator later died, she alleged that the will was executed while the testator was under the undue influence of the will's beneficiaries.
As proof, she offered testimony from the testator's caretaker over the relevant period, who stated that the testator told her that the beneficiaries "physically abused him, removed all the telephones from his residence, disconnected his alarm system, withheld his medication for their own use, locked him outside of his home at night in the rain, and 'terrorized' him." Id. at P13.
However, the caretaker also stated that the testator never showed any signs of mental impairment. Id.
The appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision to grant summary judgment, holding that these facts were insufficient to show that neither the beneficiaries nor anyone else had exerted any improper influence upon the testator's act of executing his will. Id. at P15.