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Petitioner Objects to Jurisdiction


This is a matter concerning the last will and testament of the deceased Kate Freeman Clark. The case is being heard in the Surrogates Court of Suffolk County.


The motion that is before the court is to have the probate proceeding in this court dismissed and surrendered to the Chancery Court of Marshal County in the state of Mississippi. The motion asks for this court to give up its jurisdiction in the case. The Surrogate Court of Suffolk County took jurisdiction in this case under section 45 of Subdivision 3 as the decedent left a considerable amount of personal property within this county.

Case Background

The decedent, Kate Freeman Clark, passed away on the 3rd of March, 1957 in Holly Springs, Mississippi. This is where the decedent was domiciled.

On the 23rd of April, 1957, the decedents holographic will with 2 codicils, was sent to the Surrogate Court of Suffolk County by Archibald R. Watson. Archibald R. Watson was named as the executor, trustee, and the residuary legatee in the will.

On the 7th of May, 1957, the objectors in this case, Harris Gholson and Clyde T. Freeman, issued a photostatic copy of the will of the decedent with codicils in the Chancery Court of Marshall County. This proceeding was ex parte and Archibald R. Watson was not given notice of this proceeding and on the same day that court issued probate of the will and two codicils that were dated the 14th of May, 1950, and the 10th of July, 1950.

Under Mississippi Code from 1942, it is only prima facie that the will was probated at this point and is not conclusive that this is the last will and testament of the decedent. In Missouri, two years must pass without contest before a will and testament is deemed as legitimate.

On the 28th of May, the petitioner, Archibald R. Watson was served with notice by the objectors of their petition for construction of the will and codicils in the Chancery Court of Marshall County in the state of Mississippi. A Manhattan Probate Lawyer said the petitioner was not able to appear in the court at the time. During this case the objector’s informed the judge that the case was being submitted to the court in New York. The judge then issued a construction decree on behalf of the objectors.

A New York Probate Lawyer said the petitioner is angry at the way the case was handled in the court of Mississippi as this resulted in Gholson being named as the executor. Mr. Watson charges the objectors with bad faith and contends that the construction degree is distorted in the face of the documents that are provided.

Court Discussion and Order

In review of this case it is found that there was a large amount of property left by the decedent in Suffolk County. Additionally, the will appoints an executor to the estate, Mr. Watson. After reviewing the findings of the case the court finds that it would not be proper to give up its jurisdiction in this matter. A Nassau County Probate Lawyer said the court finds in favor of the petitioner and the motion by the objectors is denied in its entirety.

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