May 2020

Posted May 5, 2020

Lisa Anderson v. Randell Lee Hill, et al., C.A. No. 2018-0449-PWG (May 5, 2020)

       This case involved a spouse’s motion for partial summary judgment based on her claim that her late husband’s change to his life insurance beneficiary form violated the statutory injunction on transferring property during divorce proceedings. Also included in the surviving spouse’s summary judgment motion was the contention that her late husband lacked the requisite mental capacity when he executed his will and changed the above-mentioned beneficiary form.

       The Master recommended that the partial summary judgment motion be denied because material facts remained in dispute which needed to be determined in order to properly apply the law to this case.

Posted May 1, 2020

R. Michael DeGroat, et al., v. Lucinda A. Papa, et al., C.A. No. 12738-VCZ

       This estate case centered on a now-deceased twice-divorced husband and the actions of his second ex-wife.  The children of the decedent’s first wife as well as that wife herself brought this action and claimed that decedent’s second wife misappropriated his assets during his life and upon his death.

       In the last few years of his life, and years after their divorce, the decedent willingly sought his second wife’s companionship and her financial advice.  Indeed, his second ex-wife did have substantial business experience. And the decedent was not close to his family. But his second ex-wife (who actually became a fiduciary of the decedent’s assets) took advantage of that trust, and took the opportunity to take the decedent’s assets.. The court specifically also found that the second ex-wife’s testimony was not very credible. In this post-trial opinion, the court concluded that decedent did not intend to give all his assets to his second ex-wife.