Articles Posted in Tennessee Supreme Court

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Husband and Wife signed a contract to make mutual wills and then executed those wills. Soon after Husband's death, Wife executed a new will that was inconsistent with her previous will. Following Wife's death, the children of Husband's earlier marriage filed an action asserting, among other things, that their stepmother's last will was invalid because it breached the contract to prepare mutual wills and that the will prepared by their stepmother pursuant to the contract to make mutual wills should be admitted into probate rather than her last will. The trial court granted summary judgment to Husband's children, determining that the contract to make mutual wills was supported by adequate consideration and that, therefore, Wife's last will was null and void. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Husband's children were entitled to judgment as a matter of law sustaining their challenge to the validity of Wife's will because, as a matter of law, the contract to make mutual wills was supported by adequate consideration. View "In re Estate of Brown" on Justia Law

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This case arose out of the death of Decedent and the ensuing dispute between his two sons from a previous marriage and Linda Carraway, whom he married two weeks before his death. Decedent's sons (Sons) challenged the validity of their father's marriage to Carraway (Wife) and the validity of the lost will that Wife sought to have established. Wife claimed she was the sole beneficiary of Decedent's estate pursuant to the terms of his will. After a jury trial, the jury found in favor of Sons. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for a new trial, holding (1) Wife waived her argument that Sons lacked standing to contest the validity of her marriage to their father; but (2) the trial court erred in allowing into evidence testimony regarding Wife's real property holdings and her late mother's will, and the error was not harmless. View "In re Estate of Smallman" on Justia Law

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The issue in this appeal was whether the statutory requirements for execution of an attested will prescribed by Tenn. Code Ann. 32-1-104(1) were satisfied when the decedent in this case (Decedent) failed to sign a two-page will but signed a one-page affidavit of attesting witnesses. The trial court held that the will was not properly executed. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Decedent's signature on the affidavit satisfied section 32-1-104 because Decedent intended his signature on the affidavit to be his signature on the will. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals and reinstated the judgment of the trial court, holding that Decedent's signature on the affidavit did not satisfy the statute requiring the testator's signature on a will. View "In re Estate of Chastain" on Justia Law

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After Decedent's will was admitted to probate in the probate court, the Bureau of TennCare filed a claim against her estate seeking reimbursement for services provided through the TennCare program. Decedent's personal representative filed an exception to this claim. The probate court upheld TennCare's claim, and the Estate appealed. The circuit court determined that Decedent's real property was not subject to TennCare's claim. TennCare appealed. The court of appeals vacated the circuit court's judgment and affirmed the probate court, holding that the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the appeal from the probate court and that the appeal should have been filed with the court of appeals. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court lacked jurisdiction over the Estate's appeal from the probate court's judgment regarding TennCare's claim; and (2) the real property owned by Decedent at the time of her death was subject to TennCare's claims for reimbursement. View "In re Estate of Trigg " on Justia Law