Petitioners herein the six surviving children, and two surviving grandchildren of John L.
Carter, Sr., who died on December 26, 2018. The Defendants herein are attorney Sherri L.
Hutton, the independent Executrix of the succession of John L. Carter, Sr., and Deandria
Young Carter, the surviving spouse of the decedent.
A Last Will and Testament, purportedly executed on October 4, 2018, was ordered to be
probated by the trial court on January 16, 2019 (Record at page 3). The Testament was
prepared and notarized by Sherri Hutton, who was also named the Independent Executrix on
October 4, 2018 Testament, (Record on Page 3). The petitioners herein were first apprised of
October 4, 2018. Testament when the succession was opened in January of 2019 only after
hiring an attorney, Mr. Osborne.
It is the humble submission of the Petitioner that Sherri Hutton an officer of the court misled
the court by filling an Affidavit of Death, Domicile and Heirship stating that the Petitioner
died on two separate days, that is October 4, 2018 and December 26, 2018 (Record at Page
10.) After reviewing the succession documents and purported testament around February of
2019, the Petitioners filled a Petition and Motion to Annul Probated Testament on February
21, 2019, based on the fact that the testament failed to satisfy the legal requirements of a
notarial testament under Louisiana Law (Record at page 15.) Specifically, the testament was
defective in law since Sherri Hutton who was named the independent Executrix had made the
will and notarized her own document. This makes the will defective at law since a notary
cannot notarize her own document, this was however not the case as Sherri Hutton had made
and notarized her own document.
The Petitioners believe that there was fraud carried out by Sherri Hutton in being granted
probate to the estate of our father. It is the humble submission of the Petitioners that their
later father and grandfather died on December 26, 2018 and his funeral was on January 7,
2019. The will was probated on January 16, 2019, this raises more than suspicion for fraud as
the hurry of probating a valid will was not warranted.
The hearing that was held in court on April 22, 2019 was a charade that our former attorney
Mr. Osborne was taking the court through. The Petitioners believe that their attorney was
covering up for Sherri Hutton at their expense and that is why he had refused to raise the
pertinent legal issue of Sherri Hutton notarizing a document that placed her as the
Independent Executrix. This made the Petitioners to file a new Petition to Annual Probated
Last Will and Testament on the grounds of fraud. The Defendant have failed, neglected or
remained adamant to respond to the petition and a judgment was rendered on July 29, 2019.
ACTION OF THE TRIAL COURT
The Petitioners filled a Petition and motion to Annul Probated Testament on February 21,
2019. Based on the fact that the testament failed to satisfy the legal requirements of a notarial
testament under Louisiana Law (Record at Page 15). A hearing on the issue was held on
April 22, 2019, and judgment was rendered on May 9, 2019, wherein the trial court rejected
the Petitioner’s argument and denied the Motion to Annul (Record at Page 64)
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
1. Was the Trial Court’s ruling denying Petitioners’ Petition to Annual Probated
Testament, manifestly erroneous?
ISSUES PRESENTED FOR REVIEW
2. Was the Trial Court considerate of the Louisiana law which applies to form of
STATEMENT OF FACTS
1. It is the submission of the Defendants that a last Will and Testament was duly
executed on October 4, 2018 in the presence of a notary and two competent witness.
The Defendants have failed to name the two-independent witness, this shows that
there were no witnesses and this is just a fabrication by the Defendants.
2. The Defendants allege that the testament was properly attested, the defendant have
failed to explain why Sherri Hutton who prepared and notarized the will, was still
named as Independent Executrix in the same will. This is a clear violation of civil
code 577, where a document needs to be witnessed by two independent witnesses and
the executrix needs to be independent.
3. The Petition filed on February 21, 2019 was dismissed on technical grounds as the
Attorney representing the Plaintiff had ignored or refused to disclose material facts
that would have directed the court to Annul Probate.
4. Mr. Osborne who was our Attorney only relied on one fact that Sherri Hutton did not
notarize the will and the initials on the page. The Petitioners had asked the Attorney to
inform the judge that the will was a false statement and there was an affidavit by a
handwriting expert to prove this but the Attorney ignored to present to the court this
fact. The presiding judge asked our Attorney if there was any other issue with the will
to which he said no.
5. The petitioners terminated the services of Mr. Osborne as their Attorney and sought
the services of Mr. Michael Roche, who in turn filed a second petition to Annual the
Probate with new grounds of fraud and 18 allegations of fraud that has yet to be
answered the Defendants.
STATEMENT OF THE STANDARD REVIEW
The trial court erred in concluding that the testament was valid yet it was clear from the face
of it that civil code 1577 was violated by Sherri Hutton who was the attorney, where she drew
the will and notarized it herself yet the same document named her the executrix. This clearly
shows that the testament was invalid at law.
The Trial Court’s ruling on denying the Petitioner’s Petition to Annul Probated Testament
was made erroneously thus disregarding the provisions of Louisiana law. The applicable
standard of review was stated in Hayes Fund for the First United Methodist Church of
Welsh, LLC, et al v. Kerr-McGee Rocky Mountain, LLC, et al, so 3d-,2014-2592 (La.
12/8/15). It is therefore, the humble petition of the Petitioner to have the court reverse the
decision of the lower court.
The Petitioner submits that there was failure by the court to observe the criteria used by the
courts to validate a will. In this case the will presented by Sherri Hutton was not signed by
the testator on every page. This makes the will null and void as it does not conform to the
provision of La c.c 1577 as it provides that the will needs to be signed and dated at every
page by the testator in presence of two witness and a notary. This however was not observed
by the testator or rather in the will.
It is therefore the humble appeal of the Petitioners to have the court reconsiders the decision
that was made by the lower court in denying the motion of the Petitioner to annul the
The Trial Court’s ruling, denying Petitioners’ Petition to Annul Probated Testament, was
clearly erroneous pursuant to Louisiana Law. The courts have been able to set standards for
review that should have been applied by the Trial Court. The court was misled by Mr.
Osborne by false statement thus making an error.
In re Succession of Holbrook, 144 So. 3d 845, 848 (La. 2014). The Louisiana court circuit
was able to hold the will null and void since it lacked form, what seemed to be a minor flaw
of not having the date of the will yet the month and year were provided made the will null
and void. It is with this strict adherence to the provisions of Louisiana Civil Code article 577
that the court ought to have applied it in Annulling the Probated Testament which had named
Sherri Hutton as the executrix.
In re Succession of Jeanette Rena Toney, wife of/and Ronnie Robert Toney 212 So.3d
1168 (2016), Ronnie Robert Toney died on January 19, 2015. Gerding was named
independent executor of his succession and a “Last will and Testament” executed by Toney
on August 2, 2014 was probated. The notarial will directed that all of Toney’s assets and
tangible personal property be distributed to Gerding. Toney’s uncle, John Huey Pierce
Jenkins, filed a petition to annual the probated will due to lack of form. The trial court
determined that the form of the will did not substantially comply with the requirements of a
notarial will and, on September 18, 2015, the probate was annulled. Gerding appealed and the
court upheld the decision of annulling the will.
In re Succession of Harlan, 17-1132, p.5 (La 5/1/18), 250 So.3d 220, 223, the Court held
that formalities prescribed for the execution of a testament must be observed or the testament
is absolutely null. The Court erred in not declaring the testament null and void as there was
no attestation to the will and also Sherri Hutton who was the notary was named the executrix
in the same will. This is blunt violation and disregard of the provision of the Louisiana Civil
Code article 1577.
Louisiana Civil Code 1577-1580 provides for the requirements for a valid notarial testament.
Article 1577 provides that “The statutory will shall be prepared in writing and shall be
dated and executed in the following manner:
(1) In the presence of a notary and two competent witnesses, the testator shall declare
or signify to them that the instrument is his last will and shall sign his name at the end
of the will and on each other separate page of the instrument.
(2) In the presence of the testator and each other, the notary and the witnesses shall
sign the following declaration, or one substantially similar: “The testator has signed
this will at the end and on each other separate page, and has declared or signified in our
presence that it is his last will and testament, and in the presence of the testator and
each other we have hereunto subscribed our names this _ day of _, 19_.”
Based on the foregoing provision it is trite law that the testators will has to be witnessed, in
this case one of the witness was the notary who was notarizing the said will. This is a clear
violation of the law and it is in this regard that the will was null and void abi intio. The failure
of having another person notarize the said will makes it defective and it cannot be produced
as the last will and testament of the Decedent.
Finally, Petitioners have demonstrated a clear violation of the provisions of the Louisiana
Civil Code 1577, where the notary is notarizing a document that names her as the executrix
of the estate of the decedent. The actions of the notary are a flagrant violation of the letters
and provisions of laws in Louisiana. Therefore, the trial court made an error in not observing
this clear violation of the law committed by the name Independent Executrix that is Sherri
Hutton. It is also important to note in re Succession of Mrs. Sophie Jones Arnouil ECK 98
So. 2d 181 (1957) 233 La. 764, the Supreme Court of Louisiana was able to declare the will
of the testator null and void since the signature of the testator, notary and witnesses be affixed
in the presence of each other, and must appear under the attestation clause. This was not the
case in the will of the decent as there were already two contracting dates that were provided
by Sherri Hutton on the date that the will was signed.
The Court of appeal to relook at the judgment issued by the trial court and order for retrial as
the Petitioners are suffering as they have been denied to benefit from their own estate. The
Petitioners have clearly demonstrated that the provisions of La. C.C arts. 1577-1580 of
Louisiana had been violated by the notary who was named the Independent Executrix in the
Based on the foregoing reasons, it is the humble submission of the Petitioners-Appellants
Pray that the Judgment of the trial court be reversed.
Respectfully submitted by:
5076, Woodcrest Dr.
Marrero, LA, 70056.
AFFIDAVIT OF VERIFICATION AND MAILING
STATE OF LOUISIANA
PARISH OF EAST BATON ROUGE
BEFORE ME, the undersigned authority, personally came and appeared:
Who after being duly sworn, deposed and stated the following:
He is one of the Plaintiffs-Applicants. The allegations contained in this Appeal Brief are true
and correct to the best of his knowledge. Further, he certifies that copies of the same have this
date been mailed to the following:
SWORN TO AND SUBSCRIBED before me, Notary Public, this _________ day of
My commission expires upon my death