IN RE ESTATE OF EUNICE KATHERINE SANDERS McCOLLUM
Session October 3, 2017
from the Juvenile Court for Dickson County No. 0308026P
Michael R. Meise, Judge
a probate case, and the parties are Decedent's children.
Appellant son filed a claim against Appellee daughter,
alleging that she mishandled the Decedent's financial
affairs, both during Decedent's life and after her death
in 2007. In 2009, the trial court appointed a special master,
who conducted two evidentiary hearings and filed two reports,
which essentially exonerated Appellee from any wrong-doing.
Two years later, the trial court ordered the Administrator of
the estate to pay certain fees and file certain applications
so that the estate could be closed, and dismissed all pending
motions filed by the parties. Appellant filed a motion to
alter or amend the judgment of the trial court that was
denied. Concluding that the Appellant did not have standing
to bring a claim against Appellee, we affirm and remand.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Probate
Court Affirmed and Remanded.
Charles Watson Cross, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Gary McCollum.
N. Bateman and Robert T. Bateman, Clarksville, Tennessee, for
the appellees, Linda Rye, and Estate of Eunice Katherine
Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Richard H. Dinkins and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.
McCollum ("Decedent") died January 16, 2007 at the
age of 83. She is survived by her daughter, Linda Rye
("Appellee"), and her two sons Gary McCollum
("Appellant") and Mark McCollum.
March 2008, Appellee and Appellant filed competing petitions
to be appointed administrator of Decedent's estate. In
support of his petition to be appointed administrator,
Appellant alleges that Appellee acted inappropriately in
handling Decedent's financial affairs, both during
Decedent's life and after her death. Appellant's
petition requests that Appellee be required to produce
certain records and submit to questioning under oath. This is
the only relief sought against Appellee.
several delays, in June 2009, the trial court appointed a
special master to conduct a thorough review of Decedent's
assets, receipts, income, and expenditures. Appellee was
ordered to cooperate fully with the investigation. On June
15, 2010, Appellee was specifically ordered to file an
accounting of all transactions from 2004 through June 2010.
Appellee filed her accounting on August 19, 2010. The special
master conducted two evidentiary hearings and filed two
reports, which essentially exonerated Appellee from any
first trial judge recused himself from the case on December
1, 2010 and was replaced by Judge Anthony Sanders. In August
2012, Judge Sanders appointed Kyle Sanders (no relation) as
administrator of Decedent's estate. In October 2012, the
Administrator filed a motion requesting a forensic accountant
to help complete the task. In January 2013, Appellant filed a
"motion" agreeing to Administrator's request
for a forensic accountant so long as the accountant did not
come from Dickson County and the fees were charged to
Appellee. In his motion, Appellant also requested to be
appointed as co-administrator. In March 2013, Appellee filed
a motion to dismiss pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil
Procedure 12.02. In her motion, Appellee argues that all of
Appellant's filings should be stricken due to
Appellant's lack of standing to pursue claims against
Appellee. Although Appellant filed a lengthy response to the
motion to dismiss, he did not address the issue of standing.
October 2, 2014, the trial court conducted a hearing, in
which the Administrator testified that any bank accounts
relevant to the case were jointly owned by Appellee and
Decedent with right of survivorship. Additionally, the
Administrator determined that, to help her parents, Appellee
deposited more of her own funds in the accounts than she
withdrew. The trial court entered a judgment on October 27,
2014, finding that the estate was solvent and that the only
remaining property subject to administration of the estate
was approximately $33, 000, which consisted of rents
collected after Decedent's death. The trial court ordered
that certain payments be made to the special master and the
Administrator and that the remaining balance be divided
equally among the Decedent's three children. The trial
court specifically found that the administration of the
estate "was being hampered by ...