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In re Estate of Mead

Supreme Court of Montana

September 30, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF: ROBERT LEE MEAD, Deceased

Submitted on Briefs: August 6, 2014

District Court of the Third Judicial District, In and For the County of Anaconda-Deer Lodge, Cause No. DP 11-21 Honorable Ray Dayton, Presiding Judge

For Appellant: Jack H. Morris; Morris Law Firm; Helena, Montana

For Appellee: Jeffrey W. Dahood; Knight, Dahood, Everett & Sievers; Anaconda, Montana

Beth Baker Justice

¶1 Roberta Jean Mead appeals the Third Judicial District Court's order awarding summary judgment to Bobbi Jo Harr in a dispute over their father's will.

¶2 We address the following issues on appeal:

¶3 1. Whether the court correctly concluded that the will was properly executed.

¶4 2. Whether the court correctly concluded that Roberta Jean Mead failed to present sufficient evidence to establish undue influence.

¶5 We affirm.

PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

¶6 Robert Lee Mead (Robert) died on September 17, 2011. His daughters, Roberta Jean Mead (Roberta) and Bobbi Jo Harr (Bobbi Jo), survived him. Roberta and Bobbi Jo are half-sisters, born to different mothers.[1] After Robert's death, Roberta initiated intestate proceedings, but Bobbi Jo petitioned for formal probate of Robert's purported will.

¶7 The will is dated July 18, 2011. Robert's long-time neighbor Teryl Rouse (Teryl) wrote its contents by hand. The will reads as follows:

On this date 7-18-2011 – I am here with my neighbor of over 30 years – Robert Mead (Bob) – I am here to write down his last "will" – He is in good spirits, alert and sound of mind. On this date Bob has asked me to write down the desires he has in regards to his earthly possessions. "I (Bob) Robert Mead do will all my earthly possessions to my daughter ...

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