Law School Case Brief
In re Estate of Wright - 7 Cal. 2d 348, 60 P.2d 434 (1936)
Testamentary capacity cannot be destroyed by showing a few isolated acts, foibles, idiosyncrasies, moral or mental irregularities or departures from the normal unless they directly bear upon and have influenced the testamentary act.
The testator was 69 years old and eccentric at the time he died. He kept junk and old liquor bottles hidden around his house. His will devised a house to a woman friend and another house to his daughter, who contested the will. The drawer of the will and three witnesses all testified that they thought that the testator was of unsound mind based upon minor idiosyncrasies. There was no medical proof of incapacity and no proof that the testator could not conduct his business. The trial court refused to admit the testator's will to probate. Appellant executrix sought to overturn the trial court’s decision.
Should the testator’s will be not admitted to probate due to his alleged mental incapacity?
The Court reversed the decision and held that because there was no proof that the testator was insane or suffered from delusions, there was no proof of testamentary incapacity. The Court ruled that testamentary capacity could not be destroyed by showing foibles or isolated mental irregularities unless they directly bore on and influenced the testamentary act.
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