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.

 


Obedience Club Of Chattanooga Has New Session Starting Jan. 5

The Obedience Club of Chattanooga will begin its next six-week session of obedience, rally, and agility classes for puppies and dogs on Monday, Jan. 5,  at its training facility four miles south of Chattanooga on Highway 193 in Flintstone. Registration will be held on Sunday, Jan. 4, from 1-3 p.m. at the training facility.  During registration, various OCC dog/handler ... (click for more)

Attorneys Batts And Taylor Elected To Lead State Drug Court Association

The Tennessee Association of Drug Court Professionals has elected attorneys Kevin Batts and Richard Taylor to leadership positions in the statewide group. Mr. Batts will serve as president and Mr. Taylor will serve as vice president of the association in 2015. Mr. Batts is director of the Drug Court in the 23rd Judicial District, serving five counties of Middle Tennessee. He ... (click for more)

TVA Sues Cleveland's Allan Jones Over Dock, Retaining Wall, Boat Ramp, Boathouse On Hiwassee River

TVA has sued Cleveland, Tn., Check Into Cash millionaire W. Allan Jones Jr. over the construction of a dock, retaining wall, boat ramp and boathouse on the Hiwassee River. In the lawsuit in Federal Court, TVA said it told Mr. Jones before the construction was finished that he was on TVA property. The complaint says he has refused to move the construction from the river. ... (click for more)

Bobby Dodd Lawsuit Against City Moved To Federal Court

A lawsuit brought by former Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd against the city of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Fire and Police Pension Fund over his pension has been moved to Federal Court. The lawsuit was earlier filed in Chancery Court by attorneys Jerry Tidwell and Adam Izell. The suit says former Chief Dodd opted for a plan that would have half of his pension go to ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 10 Tasks For This Week

In 1993 a 95-year-old man named William Snell created a list called “Life’s Little Instructions.” His list has swirled around in the Internet ever since and it is, indeed, a delightful checklist to keep us focused in the right direction. Curiously, when I read over it this past weekend, it dawned on me that if each of us would try to accomplish just 10 items on Mr. Snell’s list ... (click for more)