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Couch White, LLP wins verdict for client in Estate Litigation

Couch White, LLP Partner Don Hillmann and Associate Desiree Murnane won a verdict last week in a will contest over a multi-million dollar estate.   The verdict was handed down after an eight-day jury trial in Surrogate’s Court.   The case involved defending the Firm’s client (the executrix and power of attorney) against allegations that the will was procured by fraud, undue influence, and lack of testamentary capacity. Couch White’s attorneys obtained summary judgment on the testamentary capacity objection prior to trial.   The claims of fraud and undue influence were then tried. The trial team successfully navigated several complex areas of estate litigation – including issues related to whether a confidential relationship existed between the executrix and the testator, shifting burdens of proof, and claims that the decedent suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and was thus susceptible to influence and fraud. The trial involved the testimony of over ten witnesses, including medical expert witnesses testifying on behalf of the Objectant to the will.