Litigation Involving a Will Contest to be determined by a Jury in NC

Posted on Dec 18, 2014 in News

Will Contests in North Carolina (known as Will Caveats) are a special type of civil litigation.

The statutes require that will contests can only be resolved with a jury trial, not a bench decision.

There are a few newer exceptions, including that the parties involved can reach a written settlement that can be approved by a judge.

However, before the statutes changed, even if the parties agreed to a settlement, it still had to be ruled upon by a jury.

One amusing example where this was applied and backfired on the parties occurred while Judge Rousseau was a Superior Court Judge. Judge Rousseau is an esteemed retired judge from the Wilkes County, Ashe County & Yadkin County district. In that situation, the caveators (persons challenging the validity of a will) and propounders (defenders of the will) reached an agreement to resolve the will contest lawsuit midway through the trial.

The judge directed the jury to find that the settlement be ordered.

The jury refused to accept the settlement and gave a jury verdict different from the settlement. I guess the jury heard enough they weren’t going to accept the agreement.

Call Kirk Sanders at 336-768-1515 to discuss you Will Contest Matter.