Gilmer County Commission Makes Its Decision on Lingering Cottrill Estate
“IF ANY BENEFICIARY UNDER THIS WILL CONTESTS THIS WILL OR ANY OF ITS PROVISIONS, ANY SHARE OR INTEREST IN MY ESTATE GIVEN TO A CONTESTING BENEFICIARY UNDER THE WILL IS REVOKED AND SHALL BE DISPOSED OF AS IF THAT CONTESTING BENEFICIARY HAD NOT SURVIVED.“
To make matters worse, Executor Michael Murphy and the three beneficiaries who lost their lawsuit to oust Ms. Mitchell decided to appeal Judge Alsop’s Gilmer County decision to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. In the Supreme Court of Appeals Memorandum Decision filed October 18, 2013, Judge Alsop’s decision in favor of Ruth Mitchell and Marlea Cottrill was affirmed. The Supreme Court wrote, that, “The relief that petitioners sought beyond clear title – that is, ejectment – is wholly inconsistent with the decedent’s directive that respondent be provided a residence.“ The legal bill for these actions totaled Twenty-Seven Thousand ($27,000.00) Dollars; Executor chose to charge one-fourth of that cost to Marlea Cottrill, who opposed the civil suit and appeal.
The County Commission, in order to finalize and settle the Estate of Willard F. Cottrill, should find that the civil lawsuit and its appeal were contests to the provisions of the will.
In accordance with the clear and unambiguous language of the will, those beneficiaries who contested the Article V, Section 2 provision of the will should be declared contesting beneficiaries, per Article X of the will.
Any share or interest in the will already distributed to those contesting beneficiaries shall be refunded to the estate forthwith.
That the sole non-contesting beneficiary to the will is Marlea Cottrill, and Ms. Cottrill shall be declared the sole beneficiary of the estate of WillardF.Cottrill.
Any legal expense of the contesting lawsuit and its appeal shall be charged to the Executor and three co-plaintiffs/petitioners personally.
Once again the Willard F. Cottrill Estate issue was on the Gilmer County Commission’s agenda for the meeting on Friday, January 22, 2016.
There have been many issues involved in this estate going from Magistrate Court to Circuit Court and even to The WV Supreme Court of Appeals which made it difficult for the Commission to make a decision.
Following an order from the Gilmer County Circuit Court, Commissioners had 120 days to make a decision.
Gilmer County Prosecutor Gerry Hough laid out the options to the Commission. After discussion, the following decision was made by the Commission:
Since all the heirs except Marlea Cottrill had contested the will and in violation of the will, have disqualified themselves from the estate. Marlea Cottrill is entitled to the entire estate and Ruth Mitchell can stay in the house as long as she desires.
Please see the details below and in the
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