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Contested will case settled

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A 2011 civil suit challenging the will of a Hodgenville woman was dismissed last month in LaRue Circuit Court after the parties reached an agreement through mediation.

Bobby Junior Morris filed the suit against Shirley Childress, executor of his mother’s estate.

Morris claimed Childress, of Mount Sherman, took his mother’s assets “for her own use and enjoyment and against the right and interest” of the “rightful heir.”

Dorothy Ann Morris, died July 4, 2010, at the age of 73. She drafted a new last will and testament after the death of her husband, naming Childress as executor.

The will bequeathed Bobby Morris a life estate to house and farmland on Morningstar Road. It also gives Childress a fee simple title to the same farm.

The will bequeathed $100,000 and all personal property to Childress; and $150,000 in a trust fund to Bobby Morris to be paid in $10,000 annual increments. In the event Childress predeceased Dorothy Morris, the property and trusteeship would be divided between other family members.

Bobby Morris claimed his mother was not of sound mind when she signed the document.

The suit described Childress as an acquaintance of the family who “assisted (them) in attending to their personal business, including but not limited to, assistance with filing federal and state tax returns, as well as tending to their financial assets and bills.”

Childress asked that the claims be “barred and dismissed.” According to court documents, Childress said she assisted with the preparation of tax returns for the Morris family, and followed the “exact wishes of Dorothy Ann Morris.”

In the settlement, Bobby Morris received a life estate interest in the property, $350,000, a 2002 pickup and household furnishings and is required to pay taxes and insurance on the property; Childress keeps the remaining assets already in her name including certificates of deposit and bank accounts and a fee simple title to real estate.

Greensburg attorney Danny Butler represented Morris; Elizabethtown attorney Kim Quick represented Childress.