GREENSBURG — Myra LaRue’s final will and the financial travails of one of her nieces took center stage in the final day of testimony Tuesday in the ongoing trial over who should inherit her estate.
The Southeastern Development Foundation, the fundraising arm of Southeastern Louisiana University, sued LaRue’s sister and three of her nieces after they were named sole heirs in a will dated 13 days before LaRue died on Oct. 22.
LaRue’s sister, Mary Pardue, and nieces Mary Sue Darouse, Judith Pardue Polidori and Barbara Pardue were named defendants in the suit, filed in 21st Judicial District Court.
The foundation has alleged the October 2010 will was obtained under duress while LaRue was undergoing treatment for cancer and should be voided.
The foundation is asking state District Judge Ernest Drake to enforce an earlier will, signed in March 2009, in which the foundation was to receive LaRue’s 11-acre property and house in Greensburg.
The property has been assessed at a value of $380,000, according to parish tax assessor records.
Barbara Pardue, the only witness to testify Tuesday, told the court that she and her aunt had a very cordial, loving relationship without any fights.
Pardue testified LaRue first broached the idea of a new will several days before Oct. 9, but she did not mention who would be named heirs until Oct. 8.
“She just announced, ‘I am going to do a new will,’ ” Pardue told foundation attorney Walter “Bud” Antin in court.
“She said ‘I am going to leave everything to Libba (Mary Pardue), you (Barbara Pardue), Mary Sue, and Judy.’
Pardue testified she did not know about the March 2009 will at the time.
Pardue also testified Darouse called an attorney the afternoon of Oct. 8, and he came over the next morning to draw up the will, though Pardue was not in the room when the will was prepared and signed.
Antin also pressed Pardue on her financial situation, asking if she had ever been sued or had any judgments against her.
Pardue admitted she had an $111,000 judgment by a credit card company that she thought had been settled by the sale of her house.
She also admitted the IRS had filed a tax lien for more than $245,000 against her earlier this year and she knew about it as far back as 2009.
“Had you told Myra about the Amex judgment?” Antin asked Pardue. “About the tax issues?”
“I never talked about it with her,” Pardue replied. “I wouldn’t have talked to her about it.”
Pardue admitted LaRue had given her approximately $20,000 during 2005 and 2006 to help a cash-flow problem she was having at a clothing store she owned in Little Rock, but she said she had never asked LaRue for money.
Pardue said she closed the store in 2007.
Both sides rested at the conclusion of Pardue’s testimony.
The judge instructed both sides to file post-trial briefs, but did not indicate when he might rule.