Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Estate of Galbreath

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 18, 2018

IN RE ESTATE OF JOHNNY MACK GALBREATH

          Session March 27, 2018

          Appeal from the Chancery Court for Maury County No. P-240-15 Stella L. Hargrove, Judge

         This is a probate case. The chancery court entered an order purporting to close a probate estate. Several months later, the Appellant filed a Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02(2) motion to set aside the order closing the estate on the basis of fraud and/or misconduct. The Appellant averred that her "verbal contract" claim which she had timely filed as a claim against the estate remained outstanding. After a hearing, the court denied the motion, having concluded that the Appellant failed to offer sufficient proof to substantiate her allegations and to justify re-opening the decedent's estate. Because the order closing the estate was not final, we dismiss the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and remand to the trial court to enter a final judgment addressing Appellant's claim.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed

          T. Jake Wolaver and Adrienne L. Dale, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Margaret Winebrenner.

          Christopher J. Skinner and Robin J. Gordon, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Johnnie Mackalyn Godwin, Executrix of the Estate of Johnny Mack Galbreath.

          Arnold B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Kenny Armstrong, J., joined.

          ARNOLD B. GOLDIN, JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

         Background and Procedural History

         Johnny Mack Galbreath (the "Decedent") died unexpectedly in an ATV accident on June 11, 2015. He was survived by his two daughters, Johnnie Mackalyn Godwin and Jody Malinda Peppers. Before his death, he resided on his farm with his girlfriend, Margaret Winebrenner ("Appellant").

         Prior to his death, the Decedent executed his "Last Will and Testament" (the "Will"), and he concurrently established the "Declaration of Trust of Johnny Mack Galbreath" (the "Trust").[2] The Decedent was the initial trustee of the Trust, and he was also the Trust's sole beneficiary until his death. The Trust was also named as the sole residuary beneficiary under the Will.[3] The Will named Ms. Godwin as the intended executor, and the Trust named Ms. Godwin as successor trustee of the Trust.

         On September 30, 2015, Appellant filed a "Petition for Letters of Administration" in the Probate Division of the Maury County Chancery Court (the "Probate Division").[4]In the petition, Appellant alleged that the Decedent had died intestate, and she asked that she be appointed personal representative of the Decedent's estate. According to Appellant's brief, on September 30, 2015, she also initiated a declaratory judgment action in the Maury County Chancery Court (the "Chancery Court") against Ms. Godwin in her personal capacity and as successor trustee of the Trust seeking, inter alia, to have the court declare that "there was an agreement for future support" between the Decedent and Appellant.

         On October 26, 2015, Ms. Peppers and Ms. Godwin filed a response in opposition to Appellant's petition, and a counter-petition to admit the Will to probate.[5] The same trial judge was assigned to preside over both the declaratory judgment proceeding and the probate proceeding, and the clerk of the Chancery Court (the "Clerk") served as the clerk of court in both proceedings. On November 10, 2015, the Will was admitted to probate, and Ms. Godwin was appointed to serve as executor of the estate. The order admitting the Will to probate indicated that the only asset in the estate subject to court-supervised administration was a bank account worth approximately $87, 000.00. Letters of Administration were issued to Ms. Godwin, and the Probate Division published notice to creditors as required by Tennessee Code Annotated section 30-2-306.

         On November 20, 2015, Appellant filed a "claim" in the probate proceeding against the estate asserting that she was owed $350, 000.00 based upon a "verbal contract between the parties for mutual support." The Clerk, however, mistakenly issued notice of Appellant's claim to Appellant and Appellant's attorney instead of to Ms. Godwin, as personal representative of the estate, and her attorney. The notice and certificate of service listed Appellant and Appellant's counsel as the "Administrator" and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.