We tried a case a couple of years back in Alameda County Superior Court. It was titled the Estate of Sparkman, No. 253825-1, before now retired Honorable David Lee.
Sparkman died, leaving only a copy of a former Will with her original signature but not witnessed. She left the bulk of her estate ($1.3 million) to her three granddaughters. Her daughter filed for Letters of Administration, claiming there was no Will, and therefore, she should take the entire estate as the surviving child. The whole family then got together in an attempt to settle the case. A written settlement was reached, and then reputed by the daughter. At trial to enforce the settlement agreement the court did in fact approve the settlement agreement and ordered same be performed over the objections of the daughter who claims she was incapacitated when she signed the settlement, etc.
One interesting fact came out at trial, a nephew testified that the daughter had given him the keys to the Sparkman’s home and safe instructing him to look for the original Sparkman Will. He testified that he had found the original Will signed by Sparkman and two witnesses who he identified as knowing. The daughter told him to destroy the Will and he did.