COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JACKSON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/25/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JAYE A. BRADLEY. TRIAL COURT SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED TO THE ESTATE.
FOR APPELLANT: WILLIAM HARVEY BARTON.
FOR APPELLEES: NATHAN LAMAR PRESCOTT, DEREK ROYCE ARRINGTON, HENRY N. DICK III.
BEFORE IRVING, P.J., MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. ISHEE, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - WILLS, TRUSTS, AND ESTATES
¶1. John Whitehead Jr. died in 2008. His 1969 will and two subsequent codicils, one executed in 1969 and the other in 2007, were admitted to probate. His illegitimate son Jonathan, whom John acknowledged and for whom John had established an inter vivos trust, was specifically excluded as a beneficiary of the will by the second codicil.
¶2. In the probate proceeding, Jonathan sought a declaratory judgment that the testamentary trust failed and that he was entitled to one-sixth of his father's residuary estate, an interpretation the chancellor rejected in granting summary judgment to Jonathan's five half brothers. Aggrieved, Jonathan appeals. We affirm the judgment of the chancellor.
¶3. John's February 1969 will provided for his wife, Marie, and their four sons, John's entire family at that time. The will established a family trust to support Marie during her life and thereafter to support their sons, specifically named in the will as beneficiaries, until each reached age thirty, at which time distribution of a proportionate share would be paid out until the last of the trust corpus was distributed to the youngest child when he reached age thirty.
¶4. In December 1969, John executed a codicil to the will that added as additional residuary trust beneficiaries " any child or children hereafter born of my marriage to
Marie Whitehead." He specifically adopted the earlier will in the codicil. Marie was ...