DOUGLAS A MESSERLI, ET AL.
VICKIE SUE WILLIAMS, ET AL.
Session: May 21, 2019.
from the Chancery Court for Knox County No. 188158-3 Michael
W. Moyers, Chancellor.
action was filed by two brothers, after the death of their
father, contesting the validity of an amendment to their
father's trust agreement. The brothers alleged that their
siblings coerced their infirmed father to amend his trust in
such a manner that was favorable to the siblings'
pecuniary interests and that two sisters had a confidential
relationship with their father. The trial court directed a
verdict in favor of the defendants. The plaintiffs appealed.
We affirm the decision.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Court Affirmed; Case Remanded.
Michael Craig-Grubbs, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the
appellants, Douglas A. Messerli, and Charles Messerli.
D. Patel, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Vickie Sue
Williams, Logan Williams, Beverly K. Blakeman, Billy
Messerli, and Lisa D. Edquist.
W. McClarty, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Charles D. Susano, Jr., and Thomas R. Frierson, II, JJ.,
W. MCCLARTY, JUDGE.
Messerli ("Father") was a retired nuclear submarine
inspector, a general contractor, and an owner/operator of
several rental properties. Father lived in California until
about 2006, when he and his wife moved to Knoxville,
Tennessee. Their daughter, Beverly K. Blakeman
("Blakeman") lived with her parents.
January 10, 2008, Father executed updated estate planning
documents which included a Will, Power of Attorney, Living
Will, and the "Roy A. Messerli 2008 Revocable Trust
Agreement" ("the 2008 Trust"). These documents
had been prepared by Knoxville attorney Dale C. Allen.
time of execution of these documents, Father was a widower.
He named as his children: Douglas A. Messerli, Billy Steven
Messerli, Beverly K. Blakeman, Vickie Sue Williams
("Defendant Williams"), Lisa Doreen Edquist, and
Charles Messerli. Charles Messerli was Father's son from
his first marriage. The other five children were from his
second marriage. Father appointed Defendant Williams as the
Personal Representative of his Will and his attorney-in-fact,
with Blakeman as the successor. Father appointed Defendant
Williams, Blakeman, and Logan Williams as Co-Trustees of the
2008 Trust. If any of the original trustees were unable or
unwilling to serve, the remaining trustees could serve
without appointing a successor. A successor trustee could be
appointed by Father, if not disabled, or by his children, but
only those who were not disabled. In addition, the 2008 Trust
provided Blakeman the option to purchase Father's home
within six months from the date of Father's death.
August 3, 2010, Father executed an amendment to the 2008
Trust ("the 2010 Amendment"), pursuant to Section 9
of the 2008 Trust. Douglas A. Messerli and Charles Messerli
(collectively, "Plaintiffs") contest this amendment
in this appeal.
2011, Father was diagnosed with lung cancer. He passed away
on December 3, ...