Rose Morris, age 84, signed a new will on May 21, 1957 leaving ½ her estate to her daughter Cecille, and the other ½ to the children of her other (deceased) daughter. When Rose died two years later, Cecille decided she wanted 100% of the estate and challenged the will on the grounds that Rose was old and sick when she signed it.

The trial court denied her challenge. The appellate court agreed with the trial court but took the opportunity to point out some interesting facts:

• At eighty, Verdi wrote Falstaff, Goethe wrote Faust, and Cato began the study of Greek.

• At eighty-one, Franklin counseled the Constitutional Convention, and still later urged its adoption by the colonies.

• At eighty-six, Shaw was producing plays, Churchill was writing his history of the English Speaking People, Russell finished Human Knowledge, and Sweitzer continues to pour out literature and philosophy, while practicing missionary medicine.

• Hobbes translated the Odyssey at eighty-seven, and the following year the Iliad.

• Roscoe Pound, at eighty-nine, published his five-volume work on Jurisprudence. • Michelangelo died at the threshold of ninety and, to the last, was active in his artistic decoration of St. Peter’s Basilica.

• At ninety, Titian painted ‘The Battle of Lepante.’

• Mr. Justice Holmes was writing opinions at ninety, and yearned to be a young man of seventy

. At ninety-two, he read Plato in the Greek, as he said, ‘to improve my mind.’

• Grandma Moses painted more than a thousand pictures after she began painting at the age of seventy-seven. She left unfinished her ‘Beautiful World’ which she began at the age of one hundred and one. Her pictures hang in the galleries of Europe and America.

The law does not render persons incompetent upon proof merely of advanced age. Neither should we.

Virginia Hammerle is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and an Accredited Estate Planner by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils. She can be contacted at The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice. ©2013 Virginia Hammerle