A three (3) year old Court battle, resulting in a five (5) day jury trial, over twenty (20) witnesses, thousands of pages of evidence, and a hotly contested set of facts produced a victory for Domina Law Group’s client in a rare Nebraska Will contest case.
After hearing extensive evidence, including testimony from a clinical psychologist, lawyers, accountants, neighbors, care providers, and business associates, a Nebraska jury declared invalid a Will made nearly a decade before decedent’s death, leaving the bulk of his substantial estate to a woman forty-six (46) years his junior. The jury struck the challenged Will, clearing the path for a previous Will to be probated. The prior Will designated assets be distributed to charity in honor of the deceased single man’s parents.
Relying solely on the doctrine of undue influence, Domina Law Group conceded the challenged Will complied with requirements governing formalities of executing Wills, and conceded the decedent had sufficient mental capacity to make a valid Will. We argued that even though decedent had the capacity to make a valid Will, due to the undue influence of the sole beneficiary that Will was not decedent’s last and final Will. Domina Law Group’s undue influence arguments prevailed over claims that a lonely man was befriended by a younger woman, outside of an intimate relationship. The jury rejected the benefactress’s contention that she “deserved” decedent’s assets because she was a “close friend.”
Brian Jorde and
David Domina, presented the Will Contestants’ case. “Several interesting challenges complicated the case” Domina said. He noted “first, before we even got to trial, we had to find the earlier valid Will. We were able to force it out of concealment in the hands of our adversary, through a dramatic open court hearing.”
The trial itself provided dramatic moments. Jorde recalled “an attempt was made by our adversary to minimize a court proceeding from the late 1980’s which allowed us to emphasize proof of decedent’s susceptibility in an impactful fashion!” Testimony from two well-known Nebraska lawyers with life-long memories of the decedent and a combined 120 years of legal practice between them highlighted live testimony.
The decedent’s estate, comprised principally of valuable Nebraska farmland, “will fund the legacy and memory of the decedent’s parents, and the decedent himself. We are convinced this is what he would have wanted had he not been overcome by undue influence,” said Domina.