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Ehrhardt v. Donelson

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

June 20, 2017

KEMPER EHRHARDT AND ROBERT EHRHARDT APPELLANTS
v.
HELEN DONELSON AND GARY T. HUFFMAN, AS CO-EXECUTORS OF THE ESTATE OF JULIA DONELSON EHRHARDT, DECEASED APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/07/2015

         WARREN COUNTY CHANCERY COURT, HON. WILLIAM R. BARNETT TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: STEVEN CRAIG PANTER.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: KENNETH B. RECTOR.

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. This is an appeal from the Chancery Court of Warren County. Robert Ehrhardt ("Robert") and Kemper Ehrhardt ("Kemper") contend that upon the death of Julia Donelson Ehrhardt ("Julia"), their stepmother, they became entitled to fifty percent of the proceeds from the sale of the house previously owned by her and the late Robert Ehrhardt Sr. ("Robert Sr."). The chancery court found the property passed by virtue of deed to Julia after Robert Sr.'s death. Finding no error, we affirm the chancery court's judgment.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Kemper and Robert ("Ehrhardt brothers") are the sons of Robert Sr. (deceased) and his first wife. After the death of Robert Sr.'s first wife, he married Julia.

         ¶3. On September 2, 1988, Robert Sr. and Julia purchased a home as joint tenants with full rights of survivorship, and not as tenants in common. Subsequently, Julia purchased, in her name alone, a strip of land adjoined to the marital home.

         ¶4. On April 27, 2000, Robert Sr. executed his last will and testament. The provision relevant to this appeal provides:

My interest in the marital home (land and improvements) is hereby given, devised and bequeathed to my wife, Julia Donelson Ehrhardt, in trust and as Trustee for her benefit upon the following terms and conditions:
. . . .
Paragraph VI, C: At the death of my wife, the trust shall terminate and then the house or subsequent dwelling which the trust has an interest shall be sold and my fifty (50%) percent of net proceeds from the sale of that house or dwelling shall be ...

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