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The details of the Georgia Supreme Court Melican decision

In our previous post we discussed the background events which spurred a longstanding probate battle that was recently resolved by the Georgia Supreme Court. The court ruled that Anne Melican is entitled to proceeds from the sale of a condominium previously owned by the Marietta millionaire car dealer with whom she had a 10-year affair.

The court ruled that Melican’s interest in the Florida condominium was protected by a Florida law which shielded individuals who are granted real property under a will from disinheritance. The estate of the late millionaire Harvey Strother argued that this decision was an improper application of Florida’s law to a Georgia estate and that the millionaire could not have passed the property because he had entered into a sale contract by the time of his death.

A dissenting Justice said that the court mischaracterized the property mentioned in Strother’s will and that Strother did not intend to give the proceeds from the sale of the $1.36 million condominium to Melican.

This was the third time that the Georgia Supreme Court has heard an appeal involving this probate battle. The first challenge that the Supreme Court heard involved the validity of the will amendments. The estate argued that Melican manipulated Strother into executing the codicils. A probate court denied Melican’s motion for it to rule that the codicils were valid and that a trial was unnecessary, which was denied and appealed up to the state Supreme Court. That court ordered a trial.

A trial was held and the probate court determined that the first two codicils to Strother’s will were valid, but the court invalidated the third codicil which gave Melican the Florida condominium and a boat slip.

This decision was appealed and the state Supreme Court invalidated the monthly allowance provision but remanded the case to determine whether the condominium was part of the estate when Strother died. The probate court determined that Melican was not entitled to the condominium proceeds and Melican’s appeal of this decision was the basis of the latest chapter in this drawn-out probate battle.

Source: Cherokee Tribune, “Court: Condo cash goes to millionaire’s mistress,” Jon Gillooly, 6/1/11