Heights Realty, Ltd. v. Phillips

106 N.M. 692

 

RULE:

Although the test of mental capacity is applied as of the date that the attacked instrument is executed, evidence of a person's prior or subsequent condition is admissible to show the condition at the time in issue. The court is entitled to take into consideration the combined weight of all the evidence: individual's physical condition; the adequacy of consideration; whether or not the transaction was improvident; the relation of trust and confidence between the parties to the transaction and the weakness of the mind of the alleged incompetent person as judged by all other acts within a reasonable time prior and subsequent to the act in question.

FACTS:

Plaintiff filed complaint seeking its commission for having performed under terms of contract by having provided a buyer to purchase original named defendant's property. During pendency of action, original named defendant was adjudicated incompetent and current defendant was appointed conservator of her estate. Following bench trial, lower court found original named defendant lacked mental capacity to have validly executed listing contract and entered judgment in favor of current defendant. Plaintiff appealed the order of the District Court of Bernalillo County (New Mexico).

ISSUE:

Was substantial evidence presented from which the trial court could properly conclude that the presumption of competency was overcome by clear and convincing evidence?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The court held that although lower court had not specifically stated in its findings that the presumption of competency was overcome by clear and convincing evidence, it was implicit when evidence was viewed in its entirety that burden of proof had been sustained. Thus, original named defendant lacked mental capacity to enter into exclusive listing agreement and its addendum. Judgment of lower court was affirmed.

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