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Filing of Will Contest Following Removal of Estate Administration to Circuit Court

Segrest v. Segrest, [Ms. 1190676, Dec. 4, 2020], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2020). The Court (Bolin, J.; Parker, C.J., and Shaw, Wise, Bryan, Mendheim, Stewart, and Mitchell, JJ., concur) reverses the Macon Circuit Court’s order dismissing a will contest. After admission of the will to probate in the Macon Probate Court, the contestant properly removed the administration of his father’s estate to circuit court. He subsequently filed a timely petition contesting the will in the circuit court proceeding administering the estate. The circuit court dismissed the will contest, holding that the contestant was required to file a will contest in circuit court separate from the circuit court proceeding administering the estate. Ms. *17.

The Court rejects this requirement and holds that “[w]hen the administration of an estate has been removed to the circuit court, properly invoking the circuit court’s general jurisdiction over the estate, and subsequently a timely will contest is filed in the circuit court, … the circuit court’s jurisdiction over the will contest [may] be invoked by the filing of a complaint within the existing proceeding administering the estate.” Ms. *56.

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