ANDREW A. GREEN
BETTY J. McCLINTOCK
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Allegany County, Daniel W. Moylan, Judge.
Argued by: Michael A. Liewellyn (Geppert, McMullen, Payne & Getty on the brief) all of Cumberland, MD for Appellant.
Argued by: Stephen C. Wilkinson of Cumberland, MD for Appellee.
Panel: Wright, Kehoe, Arthur, JJ. Opinion by Arthur, J.
[218 Md.App. 341] Arthur, J.
This case concerns a challenge to a last will and testament of the late Kenneth Green, as well as a contention that Maryland lacks jurisdiction to consider the challenge.
In 2003, the decedent executed a will in which he made his friend, Betty McClintock, the prime beneficiary. In 2009, when he was terminally ill, regularly taking opiates for pain, and completely dependent upon his brother, who had taken him from Maryland to Kentucky and held him there incommunicado, he executed a second will in which he revoked the earlier will and gave all of his assets to his brother.
McClintock challenged the second will, contending that it had been procured by fraud and undue influence. After a bench trial that extended over five days, the Circuit Court for Allegany County agreed. As a consequence of that decision, the earlier will, which favored McClintock, became the decedent's last will and testament. We shall affirm.
Factual and Procedural History
The multi-volume record in this case discloses few areas of agreement between the contending parties. Our obligation, however, is not to review and weigh the parties' respective contentions, but to recount the facts in the light most favorable to McClintock, the party who prevailed below. L.W. Wolfe Enters., Inc. v. Maryland Nat'l Golf, L.P., 165 Md.App. 339, 343, 885 A.2d 826 (2005). Those facts are as follows:
A. The Parties
1. The Testator, Kenneth Green.
The testator, Kenneth Green (" Kenneth" ), was born on May 20, 1934, and died on January 19, 2010. Kenneth was raised on a farm that was [218 Md.App. 342] owned by his parents in Lonaconing, Maryland. His only sibling was his brother Albert Green (" Albert" ). Kenneth never married and had no children.
Except for a few brief periods (when he was in the military, when he moved to Ohio for a job, and at the very end of his life), Kenneth spent the entirety of his life on or near the Green farm. For much of his life, he worked for Westvaco in Allegany County.
Before his father died, Kenneth lived on the farm with his parents, to whom he was devoted. After his father's death, Kenneth remained on the farm alone, raising cattle and hay. Aside from his mother, the farm and his cattle were the most important things in Kenneth's life.
2. The Beneficiary, Albert Green.
Kenneth's brother Albert also worked for Westvaco for
many years, but moved to West Virginia, near the border with Garrett County, in
1987. Kenneth's and Albert's mother, Ida, joined Albert in West Virginia after
their father died. In 1998, a few years after his ...