Saturday, August 30, 2014
A recent case from the Supreme of Mississippi held that forfeiture provisions in wills in Mississippi are enforceable unless the will contest has been founded upon probable cause and made in good faith.
This decision comes after siblings Bronwyn Benoist Parker and William Benoist litigated the will of their father, who granted significantly more property to William and less to Bronwyn than a previous will executed in 1998. Bronwyn alleged William had unduly influenced their father, who was suffering from dementia and drug addiction, into creating a new will, which included a forefeiture clause that revoked benefits to any named beneficiary who contested the will.
The Supreme Court of Mississippi held that Bronwyn had sufficiently shown that their suit was brought in good faith and founded upon probable cause. Thus, the Court reversed the decision of the Chancery Court, allowing Bronwyn to inherit in accordance with her father’s 2010 will. Parker v. Benoist, 2014 WL 4243763 (Miss.)
Special thanks to Howard M. Zaritsky for bringing this case to my attention.