In re the Matter of the Estate of: BARBARA JOY BRADLEY Deceased.
BILLY R. WALKER, et al., Respondents/Appellees. GAIL BUSSBERG, Petitioner/Appellant,
from the Superior Court in Mohave County No. S8015PB201600080
The Honorable Richard D. Lambert, Judge.
Law Firm, PLLC, Kingman By Mark A. Sippel Counsel for
Garcia, Aguirre & Villarreal, PLC, Yuma By Alicia Z.
Aguirre, Jacqueline R. Luger Counsel for Respondent/Appellee
Presiding Judge Diane M. Johnsen delivered the opinion of the
Court, in which Judge Kent E. Cattani and Judge Jennifer M.
Gail Bussberg appeals the superior court's judgment
invalidating her stepmother's will under the two-witness
requirement of Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.")
section 14-2502(A)(3) (2018). We hold that a notary public who
acknowledges the testator's signature may qualify as a
witness under the statute, and reverse and remand for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The material facts are undisputed. Barbara Bradley, then 76
years old and suffering from terminal cancer, signed a will
that disposed of her property upon her death to her
boyfriend, Billy Walker, and her stepdaughters, Bussberg and
Sandra Estrada. Walker and Tamara Adamovich, who is a notary
public, were present in Bradley's home when Bradley
signed the will. Before Bradley signed the will, Adamovich
asked Walker to leave the room so that she could speak
privately to Bradley. After Adamovich concluded that Bradley
was competent and under no duress, Walker returned, and both
Adamovich and Walker watched Bradley sign the will. Walker
then signed the will, followed by Adamovich, who executed an
acknowledgement and stamped it with her notary seal.
The signatures appear on the will as follows:
Barbara J. Bradley agrees to t.he conditions of the
directives or wishes prior to her death.
Billy R. Walker agrees to the directives or wishes of Barbara
Acknowledgment State of Arizona County of ...