In re Strittmater

The Facts

  • T was born in 1896 and was never married
  • Lived with parents until their death in 1928.
  • Loved her parents and this admiration continued until at least 1934.
  • Four years later, T wrote that her father was corrupt, vicious and unintelligent like all other men.
  • In 1943, she wrote on a picture of her mother “That moronic she-devil that was my mother”
  • Regarded men with an “insane” hatred
  • She looked forward to the day when women could bear children w/o needing men to do it and all males would be put to death at birth
  • At some points, her inner anger lashed out and she smashed a clock, killed a kitten, used vile language, etc.
  • Was reasonable and normal with her attorney
  • Volunteered for the National Women’s Party from 1939 to 1941
  • Executed a will in 1944 which would leave her estate to the Party
  • She died a month later
  • Only relatives were cousins who saw very little of her in her later years.

Procedural History

  • PC admitted T’s will into probate
  • D challenges on the grounds that T was insane

The Issue

Was T’s will the product of her insanity?

The Holding/Disposition

  • Yes, PC reversed

Court’s Reasoning

  • Her leaving her estate to the Party seems to stem from her insane hatred of men
  • It was her paranoic condition and her insane delusions about men that fueled this testamentary bequeath

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