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In re Estate of Meyer

Supreme Court of Wyoming

January 20, 2016

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF P. RICHARD MEYER, Deceased.
v.
KELLY CATHERINE FANNING, Appellee MIRACLES MEYER, Personal Representative for the Estate of P. Richard Meyer, Appellant (Respondent),

Page 630

Appeal from the District Court of Teton County. The Honorable Timothy C. Day, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Weston W. Reeves and Anna Reeves Olson of Park Street Law Office, Casper, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Reeves.

Representing Appellee: J. Denny Moffett of Moffett & Associates, PC, Jackson, Wyoming.

Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

OPINION

Page 631

FOX, Justice.

[¶1] P. Richard Meyer executed his Last Will & Testament (Will), which complied with the form for self-proving wills set forth in the Wyoming Probate Code. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 2-6-114 (LexisNexis 2015). However, when the Will was filed for probate, the witnesses could not recall having seen the testator or each other sign the Will. Further, one of the witnesses was also the notary. The district court found that the Will was not self-proving, and that, because the only witness who could recall the Will signing did not remember seeing the other witness sign the Will, there was no way the Will could be proven. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Will contestant and against the Will proponent. The Will proponent appeals, and we reverse and remand.

ISSUE

[¶2] Can a non-self-proving will be proven and admitted to probate when the witnesses to the testator's signature cannot recall if the testator signed the will in both their presence?

Page 632

FACTS

[¶3] Mr. Meyer executed his Will on March 24, 2008, bequeathing all of his property to his fourth wife, Miracles Meyer, and naming her as his personal representative. The Will is signed by Mr. Meyer and witnessed by Deborah Walker and Denise Burkel. All three signatures are in the affidavit form for self-proving wills as set forth in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 2-6-114, and they are notarized by Denise Burkel.[1]

[¶4] Mr. Meyer passed away on April 1, 2013. On April 25, 2013, Miracles Meyer, his wife at the time of his death, filed a petition to probate the Will. The district court entered an order finding the Will to be self-proving, opened probate, issued letters testamentary, and ...


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