In re Estate of Sidranksy, 420 S.W.3d 90 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2012, pet. denied).


Will Contest

Undue Influence


The trial court granted conducted a bench trial and found that Testatrix had testamentary capacity.  The court then granted a summary judgment motion that Testatrix was not subject to undue influence when she executed her will.


On appeal, the court conducted a careful review of the evidence and found that it did not raise “a genuine issue of material fact on the existence and exertion of influence.”  The court stressed that evidence showing that Testatrix was susceptible to undue influence because of a weakened physical and mental condition did not constitute evidence that any undue influence actually was exerted.  Accordingly, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgment and ended its opinion with the phrase, “May she rest in peace.”


Moral:  A contestant who claims that a will was the product of undue influence must be certain to present evidence showing that the influence was actually exerted because evidence showing only susceptibility is insufficient to prevent a summary judgment that the will was not the product of undue influence.