Teams from two local high schools in O'Fallon and Roxana will participate in the 30th annual Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) High School Mock Trial Invitational Friday and Saturday at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

The eight top-scoring teams will compete for the state championship. The winner will represent Illinois at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in May.

Each 10-member team tries both sides – plaintiff and defense – of a hypothetical case.

This year, the case involves the estate of the late Estelle Heeney-Potter, a wealthy widow, and her estranged adult children, Addison and Alexi Heeney-Potter.

The children vigorously contest the $20 million will. The estate leaves $10 million to establish a trust to care for the pets, and includes provisions to pay an annual salary of the pet keeper, Riley Rendlow, who is to remain in the home to care for the animals.

The trust also will pay for the upkeep of the mansion, land, out-buildings, automobiles and ensure financial provisions for veterinary visits to the property on a quarterly basis to check on the animals, provisions for pet food and other necessities for their care.

The children are contesting the will, stating the decedent lacked testamentary capacity to create the will and the defendants unduly influenced the decedent in the creation of the will.

Students will assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses and a panel of Illinois lawyers and judges, along with members of the ISBA law related education committee, will rate the students' performance.

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