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Domino v. Braswell

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

May 19, 2015

ELIZABETH DOMINO, VICKIE BRASWELL, CHUCK BRASWELL, WAYNE BRASWELL, LARRY BRASWELL, JENNIFER M. WESTON AND BEAU MILES, APPELLANTS
v.
JUDY C. BRASWELL AND ANN BRASWELL, APPELLEES

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: BOLIVAR COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/04/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WATOSA MARSHALL SANDERS. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: DETERMINED THAT A MODIFICATION TO A TRUST AGREEMENT WAS VALID AND THAT THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS HAD RUN ON ANY ACTION CHALLENGING THE MODIFICATION.

AFFIRMED.

FOR APPELLANTS: GERALD H. JACKS, MARY MCKAY LASKER, JAMIE FERGUSON JACKS.

FOR APPELLEES: GLENN H. WILLIAMS.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., BARNES, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. IRVING, P.J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION. ROBERTS, J., CONCURS IN RESULT ONLY WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION. GRIFFIS, P.J., AND JAMES, J., DISSENT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

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

ISHEE, J.

[¶1] This appeal arises from a decision made by the Chancery Court of Bolivar County involving a family trust. The case began as an interpleader action brought by the surviving trustees of the Braswell family trust regarding the distribution of Ophelia Braswell's (" Ophelia" ) trust property among two of her deceased sons' beneficiaries. The two deceased sons were Charles Braswell (" Charles" ) and Ralph Braswell (" Ralph" ), and the dispute arose between both Charles's and Ralph's wives and their children or grandchildren (collectively " the children" ). The chancery court found in favor of Charles's and Ralph's wives, and the children appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

[¶2] This case arises from a dispute involving the distribution of Ophelia's family trust. Ophelia had five children, and she executed the original trust agreement on February 7, 1994. The original trust agreement included the following: 420 acres of land, certificates of deposit, cash, other funds, Bank of Ruleville stock, and Baxter Laboratories stock. At the time, she had four living children: Ralph, Charles, Frances Downs (" Frances" ), and Lawrence Braswell (" Buck" ), and they were named as co-trustees. The fifth child, Bobby Braswell, predeceased Ophelia,

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and he had two children: Chris Braswell (" Chris" ) and Tammy Story (" Tammy" ). The trust provided that upon Ophelia's death, the trust would terminate, and the trust's assets would be distributed as follows:

To Ralph Braswell, an undivided one-fifth interest, to Charles Braswell, an undivided one-fifth interest, to Frances B. Downs, an undivided one-fifth interest, to Lawrence E. Braswell, an undivided one-fifth interest, to Chris O. Braswell, an undivided one-tenth interest, and to Tammy B. Story, an undivided one-tenth interest, the children of a deceased beneficiary to take his or her parent's share per stirpes.

[¶3] The trust also stated:

The Donor hereby declares that this agreement and the trust hereby created shall be irrevocable and not subject to modification, alteration or amendment, and the Donor shall ever hereafter have ...

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