IN RE: THE ESTATE OF DOYLE I. DUKES - Articles

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Posted by: Barry Kolar on Sep 11, 2015

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Bill W. Petty and Micha Buffington, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Doyle Edward Dukes.

Attorneys 2:

Salvatore W. Varsalona, Clinton, Tennessee, and Wendell K. Hall, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Melbia Cooke, Mary Lou Anderson, and Ruth Hickey.

Judge(s): SWINEY

Doyle E. Dukes (“Doyle E.”)1 filed a petition for letters testamentary in the Chancery Court for Union County seeking to have the Last Will and Testament (“the Will”) of Doyle I. Dukes (“Deceased”) admitted to probate. Melbia Cooke (“Melbia”), Mary Lou Anderson (“Mary Lou”), and Ruth Jerline Hickey filed a complaint to contest the Will. The case was transferred from the Chancery Court for Union County to the Circuit Court for Union County (“the Trial Court”). After a bench trial, the Trial Court entered its order on September 19, 2014 finding and holding, inter alia, that a confidential relationship existed between Deceased and Doyle E., that the Will was invalid as the product of undue influence, and that Deceased died intestate. Doyle E. appeals to this Court raising issues regarding whether the Trial Court erred in finding a confidential relationship and whether the Trial Court erred in finding undue influence. We find and hold that the evidence in the record on appeal does not preponderate against the Trial Court’s findings, and we affirm.