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In re Estate of Owen

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

September 27, 2017

IN RE ESTATE OF JAMES KEITH OWEN

          Session September 6, 2017

         Appeal from the General Sessions Court for Rutherford County No. 1 Tolbert Gilley, Judge.

         In this case challenging the trial court's interpretation of the notice requirements of Tenn. Code Ann. § 30-2-306(d), we find the notice issue moot because the trial court found that the petitioner's claim was without merit.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the General Sessions Court Affirmed

          John Robert Toy, II, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Lee Owen.

          Mark Allen Polk and Amy Broom Pollina, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellees, Cristina Amanda Utti-Hodge and Estate of James Keith Owen.

          Andy D. Bennett, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Richard H. Dinkins and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION[1]

          ANDY D. BENNETT, JUDGE.

         James Keith Owen ("the decedent") died on July 15, 2015. His will was probated and his estate was closed on February 25, 2016. On July 14, 2016, the decedent's father, James Lee Owen ("the petitioner"), filed a petition to reopen the closed estate asserting that he was a creditor of the estate and never received actual notice of the right to file claims against the estate under Tenn. Code Ann. § 30-2-306(d).[2] The petitioner filed a verified claim against the estate in the amount of $155, 000 for a cash loan designated "to build spec houses." The trial court reopened the estate to receive the petitioner's claim, and the executrix of the estate filed an exception to the petitioner's claim asserting that the claim was "not substantiated by sufficient documentation to show that the decedent owed any money to him" and that it was time-barred.

         The trial court held a hearing on November 14, 2016 and heard testimony from Cristy Owen, daughter of the petitioner and sister of the decedent, and from the petitioner. The court made the following findings:

1. The matter that is before the Court initially started out as a claim for a loan.
2. There has been no evidence submitted to the Court that provides proof of a loan.
3. Cristy Owen testified that she told her brother that he needed to pay money back to their father and, apparently, the ...

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