Beman v. Stembridge

Full title: BEMAN et al. v. STEMBRIDGE

Court: Supreme Court of Georgia

Case no: 18787.

Date published: Jan 10, 1955

Fact: 

The administrator of the estate of Marion W. Stembridge was not a party to the probate proceedings in the court below, and is not an indispensable party in this court to the review of the judgment denying probate. Continental Trust Co. v. Sabine Basket Co., 165 Ga. 591 ( 141 S.E. 664); Hicks v. Atlanta Trust Co., 187 Ga. 314 ( 200 S.E. 301); Cantrell v. Kaylor, 203 Ga. 157 ( 45 S.E.2d 646). The motion of the administrator of the testator’s estate to dismiss the writ of error because he was not made a party to the writ of error is denied.

The evidence of the subscribing witnesses was sufficient to make out a prima facie case of testamentary capacity upon the part of the testator to make a valid will; and where there was nothing in the evidence produced by the caveatrix which would have authorized a finding in her favor upon any of her contentions as contained in the caveat, the trial court should have granted the motion of the propounders to set aside the verdict and judgment in favor of the caveatrix and entered a judgment in accordance with the motion for a directed verdict. Accordingly, direction is given to enter a verdict and judgment in favor of the propounders.

Issue:

  • Whether Marion W. Stembridge had testamentary capacity at the time of executing the will on January 8, 1951, despite evidence of past delusions and eccentric behavior.

Decision:

  • The court found that the evidence presented by Sara J. Stembridge, the caveatrix contesting the will, was insufficient to overcome the testimony of the subscribing witnesses regarding the testator’s mental capacity at the time of execution.
  • Therefore, the court directed that a verdict and judgment be entered in favor of the propounders, upholding the validity of the will.

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