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WILL CONTEST - VENUE - PRIORITY: EX PARTE TAYLOR

Ex parte Taylor, [Ms. 1150236, Oct. 13, 2017] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2017). This unanimous decision by Justice Murdock (Stuart, C.J., and Bolin, Main, and Bryan, JJ., concur), treats Alice Taylor’s petition for a writ of mandamus to the Monroe Probate Court requiring reinstatement of her petition to probate a 2007 will of Alice Harper and to reinstate Taylor’s contest to that 2007 will as a direct appeal authorized by § 12-22-20. The Court orders the Monroe Probate Court to reinstate Taylor’s petition to probate the 2007 will and her contest of that will. The Court also grants Taylor’s petition for writ of mandamus directing the Monroe Probate Court to transfer the will contest to the Monroe Circuit Court.

The Court held that pursuant to the unambiguous terms of § 43-8-21(b), Ala. Code 1975, where multiple proceedings are filed in different probate courts involving the same estate, the court where a “proceeding was first commenced shall hear the matter.” Ms. *13. The Court also held that the Monroe Probate Court exceeded its discretion in refusing to transfer Taylor’s will contest to the Monroe Circuit Court because pursuant to § 43-8-198, Ala. Code 1975, once a contestant shows he or she is interested in an estate, the probate court on motion of such party must transfer the will contest to circuit court. Ms. *18.

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