Casefile Clues

20 March 2012

Preparing for Mother's Death

I like titles that are a little bit unusual--and this is one of the upcoming webinars I'm working on for April.

"Preparing for Mother's Death" revolves around an 1889 will that bequeathed all of the testator's real estate to one of her sons, John. When the mother died in 1900, the county judge (for unspecified reasons) refused to probate the mother's will. Fortunately the will was filed in with the local probate records so it's contents were not lost. A comprehensive search of probate records revealed no reason for the court's action. Thanks to an exhaustive search, the likely reason for the denial is known.

About the same time the mother drew up the 1889 will, her granddaughter and former son-in-law (husband of a deceased daughter) signed quit claim deeds to the son who was bequeathed the farm by the mother in her will.

There's a quit claim deed from the heirs to the son John a few weeks after the will was denied probate.

The will of "Mother"'s first husband (who died before she wrote her 1889 will) provided evidence as to why the judge likely denied the will's probate.

To top it all off, the mother married after her first husband died--to the man who would later become her son John's father-in-law.

This is a German family, but the problem isn't an ethnic one--instead we discuss property rights, inheritance, convoluted family relationships, the importance of an exhaustive search, the importance of using logic/reasoning,  and the need to look at "motive."

Confused? We'll sort it all out. If it were totally straight forward, it wouldn't be as interesting.

You can register for "Preparing for Mother's Death" here. It's being held on 13 April.