Supreme Court Agrees With Trial Court That Spouses’ Contract Invalidated Later Will

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Tennessee Supreme Court on Friday upheld a trial court’s decision invalidating a will because the will was contrary to a contract between the maker of the will and her deceased husband.

Roy Brown, Jr. and Ina Brown were married in the 1980s. Both of them had children from previous marriages. In June 2002, the Browns signed a contract agreeing to make wills that provided for all their children. They also agreed that they would not change their wills after one of them died. On the same day they signed the contract, the Browns signed new wills in accordance with their agreement.

Mr. Brown died six days after executing his will. Nine days later, Ms. Brown executed a new will that was different from her previous will. Ms. Brown died in 2003. After Ms. Brown’s son filed his mother’s last will for probate in the Chancery Court for Knox County, Mr. Brown’s children challenged the will because it violated Ms. Brown’s contract with their father. Ms. Brown’s son responded that the trial court did not have the authority to consider the claim that his mother’s will violated her contract with her late husband, and that the contract was unenforceable.

Following a hearing, the trial court decided that it had authority to try the dispute and that the Browns’ contract to make their wills was valid and enforceable. Accordingly, the trial court decided that Ms. Brown’s last will was invalid and that the will she signed before her husband died was valid. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision.

On Friday, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the decisions of the trial court and the Court of Appeals. The Court decided that the trial court had jurisdiction to hear the challenge filed by Mr. Brown’s children to Ms. Brown’s last will and that the challenge was not filed too late. The Court also decided that the contract between the Browns to make wills was enforceable and that Ms. Brown’s last will was not enforceable because it violated her contract with her deceased husband. Chief Justice Gary R. Wade wrote a separate concurring opinion.

Visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov to read the In re Estate of Brown opinion, authored by Justice William C. Koch, Jr. and the concurring opinion by Chief Justice Wade.

 


Business After Hours And Ridgeland High School Artists Reception Will Be May 12

The Walker County Chamber will host the Business After Hours and the Ridgeland High School Artists Reception – Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America celebrates the connection between Amercians and sports in our heritage. The event will be at the 6th Cavalry Museum on May 12, from 4-6 p.m. Hometown Teams captures the stories that unfold on the neighborhood fields and courts, ... (click for more)

Senator David Perdue Says The Debt Crisis Is Directly Impacting The Ability To Protect The Nation

Senator David Perdue, a member of the Senate Budget and Foreign Relations Committees, on Thursday highlighted the impact the federal debt crisis is having on the country’s ability to support the military and protect the nation.   Here are highlights: Responsibly Funding The Federal Government:  “The primary role of Congress is to responsibly fund the federal ... (click for more)

Truck Bursts Into Flames On I-75 Near Tunnel Hill; Traffic At Standstill For Hours

A truck burst into flames after wrecking with another vehicle on I-75 near Tunnel Hill on Saturday afternoon. There were injuries reported in the fiery accident in the southbound lanes. Traffic was at a standstill for several hours. Long lines of vehicles detoured onto Highway 41 into Ringgold. The wreck was just inside Catoosa County, Ga. (click for more)

Representative Jimmy Duncan Endorses Donald Trump For President

Representative John J. Duncan, Jr., one of the most senior Republicans in the House and the only Republican remaining in Congress who voted against the Iraq War today endorsed Donald Trump for president. Rep. Duncan said, “With only four percent of the world’s population, we buy 25 percent of the world’s goods. Every country wants into our markets. We have tremendous leverage ... (click for more)

Jill Levine Is An Educational Rock Star

No one has covered the Hamilton County Department of Education drama better than Roy Exum.  Thank you, Roy, but I take issue with your unnamed sources.  Professional jealousy and sour grape darts should not be anonymous.   HCDE is so dysfunctional, and there is good cause to place this public organization under a microscope, dissect it into pieces and discard all ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Settle It With A Vote

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which I consider a pretty good authority on what words really mean, defines “freedom” in this way:  “The quality or state of being free: such as, (a) the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action; (b) liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another; (c) independence -- the quality or state of being exempt ... (click for more)