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Wheeler v. Wheeler

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 22, 2013

Glenn WHEELER, Appellant
v.
Scott A. WHEELER, Appellee.

Page 690

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 691

Joseph N. Studdard, Columbus, William Starks II, attorneys for appellant.

J. Dudley Williams, Aberdeen, attorney for appellee.

Before LEE, C.J., MAXWELL and FAIR, JJ.

LEE, C.J.

¶ 1. This appeal arises from Glenn Wheeler challenging the validity of Festus Wheeler's will and two deeds to property. The will and the deeds awarded the estate and the property to Glenn's brother Scott. The chancellor found that although Festus and Scott had a confidential relationship, there was no undue influence.

FACTS

¶ 2. Festus Wheeler died testate on December 12, 2008. At the time of his death, Festus had three living sons, Glenn, Scott, and Michael, who was institutionalized. Scott, who was unemployed at the time of trial and had been unemployed for most of his adult life, lived with Festus at the

Page 692

family home on Military Road in Columbus, Mississippi. Scott testified that Festus had a stroke in 2005, and his health had been deteriorating since that time. Because of Festus's declining health, Scott drove Festus anywhere he needed to go. Festus broke his leg in 2007 and became bedridden until his death in 2008. Scott testified that he prepared Festus's meals for him, fed him, administered his medication, as well as performed the household chores.

¶ 3. In 2004, Festus signed his first will. In this will, Michael was to receive $500, and Scott was to receive Festus's truck and the home on Military Road. All other property and the residual of the estate was to be divided equally between Glenn and Scott.

¶ 4. In the summer of 2005, Glenn moved into the home on Military Road with Festus and Scott. Glenn was also unemployed but helped Scott take care of Festus. Both sons lived off Festus's income from Social Security and VA disability and checks from an oil lease, a hunting lease, and a government program. Prior to June 2008, Festus, Scott, and Glenn were all signatories on Festus's accounts. Both Glenn and Scott testified that Festus was aware of their spending habits.

¶ 5. According to Scott, Glenn took $10,000 from one of Festus's accounts to start a gunsmithing business. While Glenn stated that the business was for both him and Scott, Scott testified that he was not interested in going into business with Glenn. Around this time, Scott began transferring funds out of the accounts to which Glenn had access. Scott testified that ...


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