IN THE MATTER OF THE SUCCESSION OF EVELYN HELOISE ANDRUS CATHA
from the 21st Judicial District Court In and for the Parish
of Tangipahoa State of Louisiana Case No. 2015-0030414, The
Honorable Robert H. Morrison, III, Judge Presiding.
D. Plaisance Thibodaux, Louisiana Charles Reid, Amite,
Louisiana, Counsel for Appellants John King and Minnie Catha
E. Heck Barrios Denham Springs, Louisiana, Counsel for
Appellee Sheryl Andrus Carnegie.
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, THERIOT, AND CHUTZ, JJ.
appellants, John King and Minnie Catha King ("the
Kings"), appeal the judgment of the Twenty-First
Judicial District Court in favor of the appellee, Sheryl
Andrus Carnegie, administratrix of the succession of Evelyn
Heloise Andrus Catha. In addition, the appellee has filed a
motion in this Court to convert the appeal from suspensive to
devolutive. For the following reasons, we grant the
appellee's motion and affirm the judgment of the district
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
decedent, Evelyn Heloise Andrus Catha, executed a notarial
last will and testament on November 29, 2014. In that will, the
Kings were designated as co-executors of the estate. The
decedent died on November 21, 2015.
November 23, 2015, Ms. Carnegie filed a petition for
appointment of administratrix and to appoint an attorney to
search for any existing wills executed by the decedent. It
was Ms. Carnegie's belief, according to the petition,
that the decedent died intestate and requested that she be
appointed administratrix over the estate. The district
court appointed her administratrix on this date.
December 8, 2015, Huey Oscar Lowery, III filed a petition
to be appointed co-administrator of the decedent's
estate, claiming that the decedent did have a valid
handwritten olographic will and died testate. Ms. Carnegie
opposed his petition. Ms. Carnegie believed that the
purported handwritten olographic will was invalid in form as
prescribed by La. C.C. art. 1575. Mr. Lowery moved to revoke
Ms. Carnegie's status as administratrix, claiming that as
a legatee of the decedent, he was more familiar with the
decedent's wishes than Ms. Carnegie, who was not a
December 21, 2015, the Kings filed a petition to probate the
decedent's notarial will, attaching the will to the
petition, and requesting that they be appointed co-executors.
The district court ordered that the Kings be appointed
co-executors. Mr. Lowery subsequently filed his own petition
to probate the decedent's handwritten olographic will,
requested that he be appointed executor, and attached a copy
of the purported olographic will to the petition.
Carnegie petitioned the district court to annul both the
notarial will and the olographic will. As to the
notarial will, she claimed that the decedent had revoked it.
Ms. Carnegie alleges in her petition that she provided to the
Kings' counsel proof of the decedent's revocation of
the notarial will, which the Kings did not present to the
district court prior to obtaining ex parte probate
of the notarial will.
the olographic will, Ms. Carnegie alleged that it failed to
meet the legal requirements of a valid olographic will
because it was not signed at the end by the decedent, nor was
it entirely written in the decedent's handwriting, nor
was it properly dated. Ms. Carnegie additionally claimed that
the olographic will was procured through the fraud, duress,
or other undue influence exerted upon the decedent by Mr.
was held on January 19, 2016. The district court found the
olographic will to be invalid as to form and granted a new
trial on the probate of the notarial will. The district court
found that the notarial will had been validly revoked by the
decedent. Lastly, the district court ordered that the
succession would proceed intestate and reinstated the
previous order appointing Ms. Carnegie as ...