44 N.E. 757 (Ind. 1896), No, Young v. Miller

Docket Nº:No, 17,540
Citation:44 N.E. 757, 145 Ind. 652
Opinion Judge:Hackney, J.
Party Name:Young et al. v. Miller et al
Attorney:Brush & Snyder, Kennedy & Kennedy, and G. F. Harvey, for appellants. Crane & Anderson, for appellees.
Case Date:September 29, 1896
Court:Supreme Court of Indiana

Page 757

44 N.E. 757 (Ind. 1896)

145 Ind. 652

Young et al.


Miller et al

No, 17,540

Supreme Court of Indiana

September 29, 1896

From the Montgomery Circuit Court.


Brush & Snyder, Kennedy & Kennedy, and G. F. Harvey, for appellants.

Crane & Anderson, for appellees.


Hackney, J.

The appellees sued the appellants to set aside the will of Alfred D. Young, alleging that the testator was of unsound

Page 758

mind and that the will was unduly executed.

Upon the trial, the court charged the jury, among other propositions, as follows: "5. Soundness of mind is presumed to exist in all persons until the contrary is shown, and whosoever would set aside a will because of unsoundness of mind of the testator, must prove such unsoundness to exist. Mere weakness of [145 Ind. 653] mind is not such unsoundness of mind as will of itself invalidate a will, and a mind that is not capable of making important contracts, or engaging in complex or intricate business matters may nevertheless be competent to make a valid will. What the law requires to make a valid will is, that the testator shall possess mind enough to comprehend the business in which he is engaged, and to know the extent and value of his property and the number and names of the persons who are the natural objects of his bounty; their deserts with reference to their conduct and treatment towards him; to rationally apprehend and consider his relations and natural duty to those who stand nearest to him in blood, and other kindred, and the manner he wishes to distribute his property among them, or to withhold it from them, and that he shall have sufficiently strong and active mind and memory to retain all these facts in his mind long enough to have his will prepared and executed. And in this case, if you find that Alfred D. Young, at the time he executed the will in suit, was possessed of mental faculties to the foregoing extent, then you should find that he was of sound mind, and if not, then you should find that he was of unsound mind.

"9. Under our statute all persons except infants and persons of unsound mind may dispose of their property by will, and the words persons of unsound mind shall be taken to mean any idiot, non compos, lunatic, monomaniac, or distracted person, and thus the term unsound mind includes every species of unsoundness of mind. A monomaniac is a person who is deranged in a single faculty of his mind, or with regard to a particular subject only. And it is a fact that persons possessed of monomania may, and often do, on all subjects foreign to the subject of mania, act rationally and with ordinary prudence and judgment. [145 Ind. 654] While, therefore, monomania is embraced within our statutory definition of what constitutes unsoundness of mind, yet it does not follow that every one possessed of monomania is incompetent to...

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