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Bundren v. Bundren

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

June 12, 2015

JERRY BUNDREN
v.
THELMA BUNDREN, ET AL.

Session Date: May 15, 2015

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Claiborne County No. 13-CV-950 Andrew R. Tillman, Chancellor Sitting By Interchange

George David Bundren, Tazewell, Tennessee, and Thelma Bundren, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Pro se appellants.

Lindsey C. Cadle, Tazewell, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jerry Bundren

D. Michael Swiney, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Charles D. Susano, Jr., C.J., and John W. McClarty, J., joined.

OPINION

D. MICHAEL SWINEY, JUDGE

Background

Plaintiff and Defendants are siblings and some of the children of Agie[1] Bundren[2]("Decedent"), who died in August of 2000. Plaintiff and Defendants each own parcels of real property located in Claiborne County, Tennessee, which previously had been owned by Decedent[3]. The real property owned by Thelma Bundren borders a portion of the real property owned by Jerry Bundren on one side, and the real property owned by David Bundren borders a portion of the real property owned by Jerry Bundren on another.

Decedent's Last Will and Testament was admitted to probate in 2000. Subsequently, six of Decedent's children filed a petition in Claiborne County Probate Court ("the Probate Court") against their brother, Jerry Bundren, seeking, among other things, to have specific deeds purporting to convey real property owned by Decedent set aside. The case proceeded to trial and then appeal, and on November 23, 2004 this Court issued its Opinion in In re: Estate of Agie Bundren, No. E2003-02746-COA-R3-CV, 2004 WL 2709154 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 23, 2004), no appl. perm. appeal filed ("Estate of Agie Bundren").

In Estate of Agie Bundren, this Court affirmed the decision of the Probate Court holding, inter alia, that some specific deeds to real property executed by Decedent, including ones to Thelma Bundren and David Bundren, were invalid for lack of delivery.[4]Id. at *4. Our Opinion in Estate of Agie Bundren remanded the case to the Probate Court for, among other things, division of the real property described in the invalidated deeds in accordance with the Last Will and Testament of Agie Bundren.

The Probate Court entered an order on July 29, 2008 that stated, in pertinent part:

A tract of land consisting of approximately 168 acres conveyed to Jerry Bundren by Agee Bundren by deed dated March, 1996, was upheld as a valid conveyance by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The boundaries of said deed overlap with parcels of property devised to Thelma Bundren and David Bundren by the Last Will and Testament of Agee Bundren. The Administrator shall commission Dennis Fultz, a licensed land surveyor, to survey the overlapping areas and determine the appropriate boundary lines. The Court further held that the doctrine of ademption applied in this case, to the extent that the lands contained in the 1996 deed to Jerry Bundren were properly conveyed and therefore were not part of Agee Bundren's estate. The costs of said surveying shall be borne equally between Jerry Bundren, Thelma Bundren and David Bundren.

After further proceedings, the Probate Court filed an order on October 5, 2011 that stated, in pertinent part: "Additionally, any disputes between Jerry Bundren, Thelma Bundren and David Bundren concerning boundaries or fences are the responsibility of the individuals involved and are not properly an issue of this estate."

By order entered September 6, 2012 the Probate Court ordered the Estate of Agie Bundren closed. The September 6, 2012 order also stated, in pertinent part:

Pursuant to the order [filed on October 5, 2011], the Court had previously ruled as follows:
"Any boundary disputes between the heirs, occasioned by the descriptions contained in the Administrator's Deeds or otherwise, are the responsibility of the individual recipients of the realty and the Estate has no obligation to address said disputes. Additionally, any disputes between Jerry Bundren, Thelma Bundren and David Bundren concerning boundaries or fences are the responsibility of the individuals involved and are not properly an issue of this estate." The Court reaffirms its ruling of September 13, 2011 [filed on October 5, ...

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