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Estate of Cannon

February 04, 1999

ESTATE OF NONA E. CANNON, DECEASED: C. R. EASLEY, SR., ADMINISTRATOR
v.
JILL FERGUSON



Before Pittman, P.j., Smith And Mills, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Smith, Justice

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/04/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ANTHONY THOMAS FARESE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: CALHOUN COUNTY CHANCERY COURT

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

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 02/04/1999

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

¶1. Nona E. Cannon died January 8, 1997 in Calhoun County, Mississippi. Nona lived with her husband in the state of Arkansas until his death. After his death she returned to Mississippi.

¶2. Prior to returning, she communicated with her nephew, Clifton Easley Jr., concerning her financial business. After she returned to Mississippi, she went to the office of Paul Moore, Sr. in 1984 and had a will prepared. Subsequently, Nona went back to his office in 1994 and had her will redone. Paul Moore, Jr. was the attorney who made the changes to her will.

¶3. In December of 1996, Nona contacted Robert Cooper to make changes in her will. Nona brought the original will of 1994 to his office, so they could discuss the changes she wanted. The 1996 will was never executed. Before she left Cooper's office, Cooper made a copy of the 1994 will. Nona inquired as to what needed to be done with the 1994 Will and Cooper responded that it would have to be destroyed.

¶4. The contents of each will remained virtually the same with the principal beneficiary of each will being Jill Ferguson. Nona's estate consists of a substantial amount of money and assets. Her real assets were listed at $713,610.73 with potential of an additional $193,012.61. There are two certificate of deposits 1) $111,000 and 2) $53,000. The names Nona Cannon and Jill Aron Ferguson were listed on both accounts.

¶5. After her death, C.R. Easley, Sr. filed his petition for Letters of Administration in the Chancery Court of Calhoun County, Mississippi at which time Letters of Administration were issued unto him.

¶6. On February 4, 1997 Jill Ferguson filed a copy of the Last Will and Testament for probate. On February 20, 1997, the Administrator filed an answer and response to Ferguson's motion. On February 28, 1997 the Administrator filed an amended response to said motion and also filed a Petition to recover the proceeds of a checking account the deceased had with Farmers and Merchants bank of Bruce and Bank of Mississippi.

¶7. In its judgment, the lower court found that Jill Ferguson overcame the presumption of the revocation of a missing will by clear and convincing evidence. The lower court also found that the monies in the two accounts were with the right of survivorship and belonged to Jill Ferguson.

¶8. C.R. Easley appeals and raises the following issues:

I. WHETHER THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING A COPY OF A MISSING OR DESTROYED WILL TO BE PROBATED AS THE LAST WILL AND ...


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