A woman died leaving a will, which named her alma mater—a private university in Illinois—as her sole legatee and beneficiary of her estate. The Testator’s sister filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the will, alleging that the Testator was mentally insufficient to make a will due to her diagnosed mental illnesses that were severe and chronic. The University defended the Testator’s will, denying the Plaintiff’s allegations and asserting that the Testator had the requisite mental capacity to make the will, which excluded the Testator’s entire family (including Plaintiff) and named the University as the sole recipient of her vast estate. Sixteen witnesses testified in the trial, including two experts. After four days of trial, Plaintiff asked the jury to invalidate the Testator’s will, which would have resulted in the Plaintiff collecting the seven-figure estate. After 45 minutes of deliberation, the twelve-person jury returned a unanimous verdict in the University’s favor, thereby allowing the University to inherit the entirety of the estate.
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