IN THE MATTER OF THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF E. MILTON BURRIS SR., DECEASED: E. MILTON BURRIS JR. APPELLANT
THE ESTATE OF E. MILTON BURRIS SR., DECEASED, BY AND THROUGH THE EXECUTRIX RENEE SIMS BURRIS, AND RENEE SIMS BURRIS, INDIVIDUALLY APPELLEES
OF JUDGMENT: 07/07/2017
COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. DEBBRA K. HALFORD TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: MARC E. BRAND
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: EDWIN L. BEAN JR.
IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND GREENLEE, JJ.
E. Milton Burris Jr. (Milt) appeals from the judgment of the
Amite County Chancery Court granting summary judgment in
favor of Renee Sims Burris on the issues of testamentary
capacity and undue influence in the contest of the last will
and testament of E. Milton Burris Sr. (Eddie) by his son,
Milt. Milt argues that the chancery court erred in granting
summary judgment because, in doing so, the chancellor
adjudicated facts rather than allowing them to be determined
by a jury.
We find that based on the averments of Renee's motion for
summary judgment and Milt's response thereto, the
chancellor did not err in granting summary judgment.
Therefore, we affirm.
On February 20, 2012, Eddie executed his Last Will and
Testament. Eddie left his entire estate to Renee, his wife
and the executrix of his estate, with the exception of a
one-dollar bequest that he left to his only child, Milt.
Eddie subsequently passed away on February 6, 2015, after a
battle with a terminal illness. After Eddie's death,
Renee filed a petition to probate the will on February 25,
2015, and an amended petition two days later. The chancery
court granted Renee's amended petition on February 27,
On November 16, 2016, Milt filed a complaint contesting the
validity of the will. On November 18, 2016, Renee filed her
answer, counterclaim, and motion for sanctions. On December
12, 2016, the case was set for trial in August 2017, with the
discovery period ending in March 2017.
On August 12, 2016, Renee had moved for partial summary
judgment. The motion for partial summary judgment was
scheduled to be heard on May 4, 2017, but it was rescheduled
because Milt was allowed to file an amended complaint. The
parties agreed that the court would consider the allegations
of the amended complaint whenever it ruled on the motion for
partial summary judgment. On July 7, 2017, the court granted
Renee's motion for summary judgment, finding that there
was no genuine issue as to any material fact regarding
Eddie's testamentary capacity, nor was there a genuine
issue of material fact on the issue of undue influence on the
part of Renee. Milt timely appealed.
"As an appellate court, we will not disturb the findings
of a chancellor when supported by substantial evidence unless
the chancellor abused his discretion, was manifestly wrong,
or an erroneous legal standard was applied." In re
Estate of McDevitt, 755 So.2d 1125, 1127 (¶10)
(Miss. Ct. App. 1999). "In reviewing assignments of
errors of law, this Court proceeds de novo."
Id. at (¶14). In its order, the chancery court
cited Power v. Scott, 837 So.2d 202, 205 (¶7)