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Agatha, a widow, died last week at the age of 89. She was survived by Beth, her adult child who lives out of state, and Christine, her niece. For the 10-year period preceding Agatha’s death, Beth regularly sent Agatha Christmas and birthday cards, periodically called her on the telephone, but had not been to visit her. Last year, Agatha fell and broke her hip. Until then, she had lived alone and cared for herself. After her accident, Agatha was no longer able to care for herself. Beth showed no interest in taking care of Agatha, so Christine moved in with Agatha and took care of all her needs. From the time of her injury, Agatha was in declining health but remained aware of her surroundings and had no trouble recognizing people she knew or keeping track of her finances. From time to time, she would call Christine by the name of Beth and then catch herself, saying that Christine reminded her a lot of her daughter Beth. Agatha would often cut short her discussions with Beth when Beth called on the phone, saying she preferred Christine’s company.

About two months ago, Agatha, realizing she did not have a will, asked Christine to contact a lawyer about coming to Agatha’s house to talk to her about making a will. A lawyer who had been recommended to Christine by her boyfriend came to the house, and in the presence of both Christine and the lawyer, Agatha said she wanted to leave all her property to Christine. Accordingly, the lawyer drafted a three-page will naming Christine as executor and leaving all Agatha’s property to Christine. The third page contained the witness and signature lines. Since Agatha was not up to going downtown to the lawyer’s office to execute the will, the lawyer sent Christine the will along with instructions as to what needed to be done to have Agatha validly execute it. Christine asked two of Agatha’s neighbors to come to the house to be witnesses to Agatha’s signing the will. The neighbors entered Agatha’s room, where she was sitting up in bed, and watched as she signed the will at the bottom of the first page. Christine then took the will from Agatha, turned to the third page, and told the witnesses to sign on their designated signature lines.

Agatha passed away a week ago. Beth, distressed that Agatha left everything to Christine, wishes to contest the will, and has come to your law firm’s office to see if there is anything that can be done. She also brought with her a deed that Agatha had told her she was going to sign, transferring the house to Beth.

Your supervising attorney would like a memorandum based on the laws of your state, discussing the following issues:

Does the will comply with the requirements for a valid will?

Can the will be contested for lack of capacity?

Can the deed be recorded and the property transferred without Agatha’s signature?

Format:

Your legal memo should be 2-3 pages in length, with at least 3 references formatted according to Bluebook standards.

Your legal memo should contain the following sections:

Heading or Caption

Facts

Issue(s) Presented

Answer to Issue

Reasoning or Discussion

Conclusion

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