Appealed from the Third Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Lincoln, Louisiana Trial Court No. 13, 129.
Honorable James H. Boddie, Jr. (Pro Tempore), Judge
SHELTON, WILLIAMS, BENSON & PAINE, LLC By: Lee H. Ayres
Jacob C. White R. Chaz Coleman Counsel for Appellants, Aubry
Matt Pesnell & Robin Marie Pesnell
HARKEY, SMITH & CASCIO, L.L.P. By: C. Joseph Roberts, III
Counsel for Appellee, Shirley Ann Pesnell, Ind.
OFFICE OF MICHAEL S. COYLE By: Michael S. Coyle Amy J. Miller
Counsel for Appellee, Shirley Ann Pesnell, Individual Legatee
PITMAN, GARRETT, and STONE, JJ.
Matt Pesnell ("Matt") and Robin Marie Pesnell
("Robin") appeal the trial court's judgment
denying their petition to annul the probated testament of
Thomas Edroe Pesnell ("the Testator"). For the
following reasons, we affirm.
Testator died on February 11, 2018, and left a will and
testament dated November 19, 2014 (the "Will"). On
February 14, 2018, his widow, Shirley Ann Pesnell
("Shirley"), filed a petition to probate the Will
and to be appointed as executrix. On that same date, the
trial court signed an order that the Will be admitted to
probate and executed and that Shirley be appointed executrix.
April 4, 2018, Matt and Robin, the adult children of the
Testator and legatees of the Will, filed a petition to annul
the probated testament and, alternatively, to remove Shirley
as executrix. They named Shirley as defendant in her
capacities as executrix and as a legatee of the Will. They
argued that the Will is null and void because it was not
executed in accordance with the formalities required by La.
C.C. art. 1577 for a notarial testament. They contended that
the attestation clause is not the same or substantially
similar to the declaration provided by La. C.C. art. 1577(2)
in that it fails to attest that the Testator signed the Will
in the presence of the notary and witnesses and does not
attest that the Testator signed "on each other separate
22, 2018, Shirley filed answers, both in her capacity as
executrix and as a legatee, and denied that the Will and/or
the attestation clause are in any way legally deficient.
hearing on the validity of the Will was held on September 20,
2018. The trial court found that the only deviation from La.
C.C. art. 1577 in the Will was the absence of the words
"on each other separate page" in the attestation
clause. It stated that the question before it was whether
this deviation is a material deviation or if the Will
substantially complied with the formalities required of a
notarial testament. It noted that the Testator did sign on
each separate page of the Will and signed below the
attestation clause. It found the Will to be in substantial
compliance with the requirements of a notarial testament and
decreed the Will to be valid.
October 17, 2017, the trial court filed a judgment, which
denied and dismissed with prejudice Matt and Robin's
petition to annul. It further reserved all other claims and
demands in the petition to annul and any ...