SUCCESSION OF EDWARD ROBIN, SR. SUCCESSION OF EDWARD ROBIN, SR.
FROM ST. BERNARD 34TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT NO. 18-0030,
DIVISION "B" Honorable Jeanne Nunez Juneau, Judge
M. ALLTMONT SESSIONS, FISHMAN, NATHAN & ISRAEL, L.L.C.
COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT
GREGORY S. LACOUR BLUE WILLIAMS, LLP COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE
composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay III, Judge Daniel L.
Dysart, Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods
F. MCKAY III CHIEF JUDGE
November 4, 2004, Edward Robin, Sr. executed a notarial will
before notary public, Todd M. Villarrubia, and witnesses, Jan
Gould and Russell S. Gehring. In the November 4, 2004 will,
Mr. Robin left his gun collection to his son, Lee Nicholas
Robin, and the remainder of his estate to two other sons,
Brad Lee Robin and Don J. Robin. Mr. Robin left nothing to
his other six surviving adult children. Mr. Robin also named
Brad Lee Robin and Don J. Robin as co-executors of his
Robin, allegedly, appeared before Mr. Villarrubia again on or
about January 14, 2016. During this alleged visit, Mr. Robin
allegedly executed a document entitled as "Revocation of
Any and All Prior Wills and Codicils," which was
notarized by Mr. Villarrubia and witnessed by Ralph A.
Litolff, Jr. and Monique D. Hardy. This document was not
dated and it did not identify any will or codicil to be
revoked by date.
Robin, Sr. died in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana on August
January 4, 2018, Mr. Robin's daughter, Chantel Robin
Viada, filed a petition for appointment of administratrix and
she was appointed as the administratrix that same day. On
January 10, 2018, Brad Robin filed a petition for injunction
and removal of succession representative. Concurrently, he
filed a petition to file and execute notarial will and to
confirm independent executor. That same day, the trial court
both probated the 2004 testament and appointed Brad Robin as
the independent executor per the terms of the 2004 testament.
The trial court also issued a restraining order against Ms.
Viada, preventing her from acting in any capacity as a
representative of the succession of the decedent.
hearing to formally remove Ms. Viada as succession
representative took place on February 8, 2018. Ralph Litolff,
Jr. was the only witness to testify live at this hearing. He
testified that the attempted revocation was not dated at the
time when everyone signed the document. Mr. Litolff
discovered this defect when a copy of the attempted
revocation was emailed to him later on the same day it was
executed. Mr. Litolff then informed Mr. Villarrubia of the
deficiency. Mr. Villarrubia testified via his affidavit which
was admitted into evidence. In his affidavit, Mr. Villarrubia
testified that Mr. Litolff informed him the day after the
attempted revocation was executed that the document lacked a
date. Mr. Villarrubia further testified that after Mr.
Litolff notified him that the attempted revocation was
undated, he (Mr. Villarrubia) instructed his paralegal to
insert a date onto the attempted revocation. The trial court
refused to admit into evidence the altered revocation
March 12, 2018, the trial court issued a judgment which:
ruled that the attempted revocation was not a valid authentic
act, and therefore it did not revoke the 2004 testament;
removed Ms. Viada as administratrix of the succession;
ordered Ms. Viada to provide both an accounting of all assets
of the succession since her appointment on January 4, 2018,
and to return all succession property to Brad Robin; and
confirmed the trial court's January 16, 2018 order, which
probated the 2004 testament and appointed Brad Robin as the
independent executor of the succession. Ms. Viada now appeals
from this judgment.
appeal, Ms. Viada raises the following assignments of error:
1) the trial court erred in invalidating the January 14, 2016
"Revocation of Any and All Prior Wills and
Codicils"; 2) the trial court erred in holding that said
revocation was invalid because it was not dated immediately
at the time it was signed by Mr. Robin, the notary public and
two witnesses; 3) the trial court erred in refusing to admit
into evidence the revocation as dated by the notary's
paralegal upon the notary's instruction correctly showing
the date executed; 4) the trial court erred in relying on the
rationale of Succession of Melancon, 330 So.2d 679
(La.App. 3 Cir. 1976) which case has been expressly overruled
(La. C.C. art. 1607, Revision Comments); 5) the trial court
erred in filing and ordering execution of the revoked will
dated November 4, 2004, in removing Ms. Viada as
duly-appointed succession administratrix and in appointing
Brad Robin as independent executor; and 6) the court further
erred in ordering Ms. Viada to provide an accounting to Brad
Robin and to return all succession property to Brad Robin.
address Ms. Viada's first two assignments of error
together. These assignments deal with the revocation of the
2004 testament and the validity of the revocation document.
According to Ms. Viada's argument, her father's 2004
testament was revoked by the attempted revocation, which she
alleges happened on January 14, 2016. In an action to annul a
notarial testament, the party seeking to annul the will bears
the burden of proving the invalidity of the testament.
Succession of Dalier, 2009-0393, (La.App. 4 Cir.
8/12/09), 19 So.3d 8, 10.
instant case, Edward Robin, Sr. executed a valid notarial
will on November 4, 2004. According to Louisiana Civil Code
Article 1607, the revocation of an earlier testament can
occur in one of three ways. The first is that the testator
physically destroys the testament, or has it destroyed at his
direction. La. C.C. art. 1607. The second is that the
testator declares it revoked in one of the forms prescribed
for testaments or in an authentic act. Id. The third
is that the testator identifies and clearly revokes the
testament by a writing that is entirely written and signed by
the testator in his own handwriting. Id. Based on
the facts of the instant case, the first and third options