No ruling in dispute over man’s will

October 25, 2011

Alicia Decatur hoped to learn Tuesday whether she would receive $80,000 in inheritance that her stepfather wrote he wanted her to have — but didn’t include in his initial 2007 will.

Decatur, 28, and more than a dozen other family members and friends of her stepfather, John Barry Badini, attended a hearing in Orphans Court in Upper Marlboro, anticipating a decision on the dispute between her and Shriners hospitals.

But a Prince George’s County judge said she was not prepared to go forward with the hearing because she had not yet reviewed the file. Judge Vicky L. Ivory-Orem said she would schedule a hearing.

In 2007, John Barry Badini, Decatur’s stepfather, filed a will leaving more than $1 million to Shriners hospitals and $20,000 to Decatur. Badini was a Shriner for at least 30 years, a longtime friend said.

In August 2010, Badini typed a note raising her inheritance to $50,000. On March 28, the day he killed himself, Badini penned a handwritten note to the executors of his estate, which read: “Please change Alicia’s monetary inheritance from $50,000 to $100,000.”

In June, a judge ruled that the amendments Badini made increasing Decatur’s inheritance were legitimate. Richard L. Lyon, an attorney for the Shriners, filed a motion seeking to have the amendments declared invalid because they were not witnessed by at least two people. Such formalities are required for the changes — codicils, in the language of probate law — to be legitimate under Maryland law, Lyon wrote.

Though Decatur’s mother and Badini had divorced when she was a teenager, she spent most of her adult life living with Badini in his Clinton home.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Lyon told the judge that he expected his motion would be heard. Ivory-Orem said no judge had reviewed the motion.

“Unfortunately sir the matter is not ready to be heard this morning,” the judge said.

Ivory-Orem said she would set a date for such a hearing.

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