Oravec v, PhillipsAnnotate this Case
Following the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to James Phillips and Larry Wyman Phillips in their capacity as co-executors of the estate of Opal Anderson Phillips (Opal), Mary Elizabeth Oravec appealed, arguing the trial court erred in its determination that Opal’s 2007 will should have been admitted to probate. Specifically, Oravec argued that the 2007 will violated the terms of a previous joint will that contractually could not be revoked by Opal. In 1997, Opal and her husband George executed a single will that recited only that it was a "joint" will. George died in 1998, and in 2004, Opal drafted a new will, expressly revoking the 1997 joint will. The attorney who drafted the 2004 will testified that Opal disinherited Oravec because she had loaned Oravec a significant amount of money during life, Oravec had not repaid the loans, and that Opal believed Oravec "had already received enough." Opal died in February 2014, and James and Larry offered the 2007 will for probate. Oravec filed a caveat, contending that: (1) the 1997 joint will was intended to be both joint and contractually binding; (2) as a result, Opal could not revoke the 1997 joint will after she benefitted from its probate; and (3) because of this fact, the 2007 will was invalid. The operative question in this case was whether Opal had any contractual obligation to George arising from the 1997 will that prevented her from revoking that will and changing her testamentary plan following George’s death. The Supreme Court found no evidence of any such obligation, and affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment.