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Schroeder v. Meyers

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Williams

July 27, 2018

Pamela Schroeder, et al. Appellees
v.
Daniel Meyers, Individually and as Executor of the Estate of Leland Meyers Appellant

          Trial Court No. 20131041B

          Ralph W. Gallagher and Sara T. Schaffner, for appellees.

          Stanley J. Yoder, for appellant.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT

          OSOWIK, J.

         {¶ 1} This is an appeal from a November 22, 2017 judgment of the Williams County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division, determining that a handwritten paper entitled, "Things my dad wants me to do," drafted sua sponte by Daniel Meyers ("executor'), contained no testamentary intent on behalf of his father, Leland Meyers ("testator"). It did not constitute a codicil to the testator's existing will or in any way revoke or modify the terms of the will. For the reasons set forth below, this court affirms the judgment of the trial court.

         {¶ 2} Appellant, Daniel Meyers, sets forth the following two assignments of error:

1. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN REVIEWING THE ISSUE OF TESTAMENTARY INTENT.
2. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE PURPORTED CODICIL WAS NOT A CODICIL.

         {¶ 3} The following undisputed facts are relevant to this appeal. On April 10, 2012, the testator executed a last will and testament prepared at his request by the law firm of Newcomer, Schaefer, Spangler and Breininger located in Bryan, Ohio. The will bequeathed appellant's estate, upon the deaths of testator and his wife, equally to their four children.

         {¶ 4} On January 16, 2013, the testator's wife passed away. On March 6, 2013, the testator passed away. On March 7, 2013, testator's last will and testament, prepared by the local law firm and executed by testator less than a year earlier, was filed with the probate court.

         {¶ 5} On February 15, 2013, several weeks before the testator passed away, the executor drove his ailing father to the executor's place of business where the executor summarily instructed him to sign a handwritten sheet of paper entitled, "Things my dad wants me to do."

         {¶ 6} The executor had several employees, who knew nothing of the substance of the matter, witness and notarize the sheet of paper. The paper was initiated, drafted, and controlled solely by the executor. It purported to materially alter the distribution of testator's estate, arguably in the executor's favor, shortly before the testator's death.

         {¶ 7} The record reflects that the testator never changed or modified his actual last will and testament executed the year before his death, nor did he seek to do so.

         {¶ 8} On September 14, 2014, the subject handwritten document was admitted to the probate court. Appellees subsequently initiated trial court action in order for there to be a trial court determination as to the validity and impact, if any, of ...


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