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Trust & Estates – Undue Influence

WI Court of Appeals – District IV

Case Name: Gertrude L. Adams v. Trudie Teynor

Case No.: 2019AP1065

Officials: Fitzpatrick, P.J., Kloppenburg and Graham, JJ.

Focus: Trust & Estates – Undue Influence

In June 2017, Clarence J. Teynor executed a will directing that his property be sold and the net proceeds from the sale be distributed to his siblings and one nephew. The will directed that no provision be made for Clarence’s children. After Clarence died in November 2017, his three living children, Trudie Teynor, Melissa Teynor, and Jennifer Siverio, challenged the will on the ground that Clarence was “medically, physically, and mentally incapacitated and disabled” and that Clarence’s sister, Gertrude Adams, and Gertrude’s husband, Gary Adams, exercised undue influence over Clarence when he executed the will. Following a court trial in May 2019, the circuit court concluded that Clarence had testamentary capacity when executing the will and that the will was not a product of undue influence. Clarence’s daughter Trudie appeals, arguing that the court’s findings regarding undue influence are clearly erroneous.  We conclude that Trudie fails to show that the court’s findings as to the undue influence elements are clearly erroneous. Accordingly, we affirm.

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Derek A Hawkins is trademark corporate counsel for Harley-Davidson. Hawkins oversees the prosecution and maintenance of the Harley-Davidson’s international trademark portfolio in emerging markets.

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