Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Frank Siracusa, Judge Presiding.
As Modified on Denial of Rehearing May 19, 1994. Released for Publication June 7, 1994. Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied October 6, 1994.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cahill
MODIFIED ON DENIAL OF REHEARING
PRESIDING JUSTICE CAHILL delivered the opinion of the court:
James Efston died leaving two testamentary documents, both purporting to be his will: one was executed in Illinois in 1975, the other in Greece in 1986. Petitioner Rosemary Coussee, a beneficiary under the 1975 will only, brought this action to construe the two wills. The trial court found the wills revealed one testamentary scheme and gave effect to both. Efston's estate appeals, alleging the revocation clause in the 1986 will revokes the 1975 will. We agree and reverse.
James Efston, a Greek national, spent most of his adult life as a businessman in Illinois. He owned property in Illinois and Greece. In 1975, he executed a will in Illinois with two substantive clauses. He first gave $75,000 to Rosemary Coussee, the petitioner in this case. He then named his two nieces and his nephew as beneficiaries under a residuary clause which disposed of the rest of his estate. He also named Nicholas Limperis, the attorney who drafted the will, and Eleni Charles, a niece, as co-executors.
In January 1986, Efston gave up his apartment in Chicago and moved to Greece. In April of 1986, without notifying Limperis, Efston executed a will in Greece. The Greek will contained this language:
"In Athens, today April 21 1986, I * * * (JAMES EFSTON) * * * wishing to regulate my real and personal estate situated in Greece after my death, I appoint and place as sole ans [sic] exclusive heir of this, i.e. my real and personal estate which will be found in Greece, my beloved sister Marika Efstathiou * * *.
In such case that my sister predeaceses [sic] me, I appoint as my heirs, the children of my sister Vassiliki Tsoli * * *:
a. Fifi Demos * * * resident of Chicago - Illinois - U.S.A., to receive a share of 45% of my real and personal estate situated in Greece after my death.
b. Eleni Charles * * * resident of Chicago - Illinois - U.S.A., to receive a share of 45% of my real and personal estate situated in Greece after my death.
c. Constantinos Tsolis * * * resident of Chicago - Illinois - U.S.A., to receive a share of 10% of my real and personal estate situated in Greece after my death.
By this document I revoke any former Will made by me, whenever it may have been made, and ...