Finding of Lack of Weakened Intellect Reversed

In finding that the testator was “quite lucid” at the time the will was signed and was not suffering from weakened intellect, the Orphans’ Court applied the wrong standard because undue influence is generally a gradual process and the fruits of the influence may not appear until long after the weakened intellect has been played upon. Applying the correct standard to the evidence, the Superior Court found that the testator was suffering from a weakened intellect and that there was a presumption that the will was the product of undue influence. The trial court also erred in failing to qualify a registered nurse as an expert witness on the issues of testamentary capacity and weakened intellect, but that error was not reversible error because the contestants were not prejudiced. Estate of: Stella Fabian, 2019 PA Super 334 (11/7/2019), rev’g, 9 Fid.Rep.3d 1 (Carbon O.C. 2018).

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