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.

 


Partnership FCA Announces Thrift Store Grand Opening

Partnership for Families, Children and Adults announced the Grand Opening of a retail store, Partnership FCA Thrift and Consignment. The store opens  Aug. 30  and is located at 301-D Martin Luther King Boulevard. The grand opening will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting and reception at  11 a.m.  on  Tuesday, Aug. 30 . Regular business hours will ... (click for more)

Todd Gaither Receives Certified Long-Term Care Designation

Todd Gaither, a financial advisor with Tandem Financial Partners, of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., has been awarded a professional designation in the field of long-term care, Certified in Long-Term Care. The program is independent of the insurance industry and is designed to provide financial service professionals with expertise and tools to address long-term care planning ... (click for more)

Maryville Police Department's Kenny Moats Slain

Officer Kenny Moats of the Maryville Police Department was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call on Thursday.  Officer Moats was with the department for over nine years and was currently serving as a drug enforcement agent. Assistant Commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security David Purkey said, "It is with heavy heart that I express my condolences ... (click for more)

Auto Burglary Thwarted In Bradley County

A man has been arrested in Bradley County, after attempting to steal a vehicle. On Thursday, Deputy Jessica Morgan observed a silver truck in a church parking lot on South Lee Highway. While checking the premises, Dep. Morgan observed a male wearing a black tank top and red shorts exiting the rear window of the cab into the bed of the truck. Once the suspect noticed Dep. Morgan, ... (click for more)

Pedestrians Have The Right Of Way - And Response

Often I visit Gold's Gym at Chestnut and 4th Street. I  park in the theater parking lot at Broad and 4th Street.  I depend on the walk signs to get me there safely.  Most days I almost get hit by someone turning left or right coming from the exit ramp off 27 or turning right on 4th street from Chestnut. This happened yesterday as I was almost mowed down by a garbage ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Gold & Ivory Tablecloth

Not long ago, in my morning reading, I happened across an obscure tale about a special tablecloth. And, as things like this are more and more wont to do, I was instantly blessed by this story. As I tracked down its origin, I learned it originally appeared in a 1954 edition of Reader’s Digest. Written by the Rev. Howard C. Schade, who at the time was the pastor of the First Reformed ... (click for more)