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Johnson v. Lester

August 18, 1998

LINDA L. JOHNSON, ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF J. D. LESTER, DECEASED,
v.
TOMMY LESTER AND TRESSIE KARR, APPELLEES



Before Bridges, C.j., Hinkebein, And Payne, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Payne, J., For The Court:

Johnson v. Lester, et al, 97-CA-00051-COA

THIS OPINION IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION AND MAY NOT BE CITED, PURSUANT TO M.R.A.P. 35-B

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/23/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WILLIAM L. GRIFFIN, JR.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: WASHINGTON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - WILLS, TRUSTS AND ESTATES

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CHANCELLOR ALLOWED CLAIM AGAINST ESTATE FOR ALLEGED JOINTLY OWNED FUNDS IN ESTATE

DISPOSITION AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED AND RENDERED IN PART

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On January 20, 1995, the estate of J.D. Lester was opened in the Chancery Court of Washington County, Mississippi. Thereafter, Linda Johnson, the daughter of J.D. Lester, was appointed administratrix of the estate. On May 2, 1995, a claim was filed against the estate of J.D. Lester by Tommy Lester and Tressie Karr seeking to establish a constructive trust in the certificate of deposit they alleged that J.D. Lester had converted and seeking to account for the rental income which was collected by J.D. Lester but not distributed to Tommy Lester and Tressie Karr. After filing this suit, Tressie Karr died on October 29, 1995, and the estate of Tressie Karr was substituted for that of Tressie Karr.

A hearing took place on May 14, 1996, before the chancellor of Washington County, Mississippi. The chancellor, by his decision, determined that the certificate of deposit was converted by J.D. Lester and constituted a constructive trust held by J.D. Lester for the benefit of Tommy Lester and the estate of Tressie Karr. On December 23, 1996, the chancellor divided the sum of the certificate of deposit, awarding one-third to Tommy Lester and one-third to the estate of Tressie Karr. The chancellor also held that there was a constructive trust in connection with the rental income, and determined that one-third of the money should be given to Tommy Lester and one-third to Tressie Karr. The last one-third of both assets remained in the estate of J.D. Lester.

Feeling aggrieved, the estate of J.D. Lester filed an appeal on January 7, 1997. Likewise,Tommy Lester and the estate of Tressie Karr filed their notice of cross-appeal on January 17, 1997, appealing the chancellor's factual findings as to the amount of the rental income marshaled by J.D. Lester during the nine months prior to his death.

Having read the record and reviewed the law applicable to this situation, we affirm the chancellor as to the issue concerning the certificate of deposit. With regard to the amount of rents due, the appellant has conceded that the appellees are due rents; therefore, we reverse and render on the cross appeal.

FACTS

Mattie Lee Lester was the mother of J.D. Lester, Tommy Lester, and Tressie Karr. On October 28, 1982, Mattie Lee and Tommy were issued a certificate of deposit, numbered as 91689, in the principal amount of $30,714.19, on which was shown the Social Security # 426-94-3251. The date of maturity for this certificate of deposit was April 4, 1985.

Thereafter, the record reveals the following transactions:

DATE

ISSU ...


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