Law School Case Brief
In re Hatten's Estate - 233 Wis. 199, 288 N.W. 278 (1940)
Upon appeal, when a finding of fact is assailed, the finding of the trial court will be upheld unless it is against the great weight and clear preponderance of the evidence.
Plaintiff Beatrice E. Monsted duly filed two claims against the estate of William H. Hatten. One claim was for monies due on a promissory note, and the other claim was for services rendered, money loaned, and board and lodging. The administrator of the estate objected to the allowance of both claims. The administrator of the estate objected to the first claim for the following reasons: The note was given without consideration; (b) the note is void if claimed to be an attempted testamentary gift by the deceased; and (c) the note does not state an unconditional promise to pay a sum certain in money. It objected to the other claim for the reason that the decedent was not, at the time of his death, indebted to the claimant either for services rendered, money loaned, or board and lodging furnished to the decedent. Plaintiff thereafter filed a lawsuit, and the case proceeded to trial only on the claim founded upon the promissory note. The trial court held that plaintiff's claim for the principal of the note, together with interest and attorneys' fees, was a valid claim against the decedent's estate. The administrator appealed.
Was the plaintiff’s claim for the principal of the note, together with interest and attorneys' fees, a valid claim against the decedent's estate?
The Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, holding that the factual findings of the trial court were not against the great weight and clear preponderance of the evidence. Further, plaintiff pleaded a claim based upon the promissory note, which contained a provision for the award of attorneys' fees, and that was sufficient to permit the recovery of attorneys' fees.
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