IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF BRENDA LOUISE BARGAS FLOWERS: CLAIRE C. FLOWERS AND BRENDA JANE FLOWERS PAIXAO
THE ESTATE OF BRENDA LOUISE BARGAS FLOWERS, THROUGH ITS EXECUTOR, KNOX LEMEE FLOWERS, CECIL C. LANG AND LINDA S. LANG
OF JUDGMENT: 05/06/2016
LEFLORE COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. MICHAEL H. WARD
COURT ATTORNEYS FLOYD M. MELTON, JR. FLOYD M. MELTON, III
RICHARD A. OAKES W. S. STUCKEY, JR.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS DAVID NEIL McCARTY
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES RICHARD A. OAKES
Claire Clements Flowers (Claire) and Brenda Jane Flowers
Paixao (Jane) appealed the judgment of the Leflore County
Chancery Court denying their request for an accounting of the
estate and testamentary trust of their mother, Brenda Bargas
Flowers. The chancery court concluded that the daughters did
not have a current interest in their mother's estate.
On appeal, the daughters argued that they were specifically
named in the will to be remainder beneficiaries and thus have
standing to request an accounting. The Court of Appeals found
that Claire and Jane have standing to request an accounting,
finding that they have limited rights as holders of a
shifting executory interest to prevent future
waste. In re Flowers v. Flowers, No.
2016-CA-00800-COA, 2018 WL 718626 (Miss. Ct. App. Feb. 6,
The estate petitioned this Court for a writ of certiorari,
claiming that the daughters' appeal was untimely and that
the Court of Appeals misapplied caselaw related to shifting
executory interests and standing to request an accounting. We
granted certiorari not to determine whether the sisters have
standing, because we agree that they do, but to determine
whether the chancellor abused his discretion in denying the
sisters' accounting request. We find no manifest error in
the chancery court's decision to deny Claire and
Jane's request for an accounting. Accordingly, we reverse
that portion of Court of Appeals' judgment and reinstate
the chancery court's decision denying Claire and
Jane's request for an accounting.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
"Richard and Brenda Flowers married and had three
children: a son, Knox Lemeé Flowers, and two
daughters, Claire and Jane." Flowers, 2018 WL
718626, at *1. "In 2004, Claire gave birth to a son,
D.A.," whom Richard and Brenda adopted in 2005.
Id. On April 15, 2006, Richard died. Id. On
July 24, 2006, Brenda executed her last will and testament
and died about a month later. Id.
"Brenda's will appointed Knox as her estate executor
and provided that he 'serve without bond, inventory,
appraisal[, ] or accounting to any [c]ourt.'"
Id. "The will also established a trust that
named D.A.," who was two years old at the time,
"and his descendants as the income beneficiaries."
Id. "The will provided for the trust's
termination either at the time of D.A.'s thirtieth
birthday or his death, whichever event occurred first."
"The will further stated that at the time of
termination, the trust's assets were to be divided evenly
between D.A. and Knox." Id. If both D.A. and
Knox died "without any descendants before the
trust's termination, the trust's assets were to be
distributed to Claire and Jane as beneficiaries, either
directly or through conservatorships." Id.
Brenda's will "stated that the trustee 'shall .
. . account fully and completely annually, throughout the
term of this [t]rust, to such income and/or corpus
beneficiaries as there may be or[, ] in the event such
beneficiary is a minor or a ward, then to such
beneficiary's guardian.'" Id.
Brenda's "will was probated in Leflore County, and
Knox was appointed her estate executor." Id. at
*2. "In November 2007, the chancery court awarded
custody of D.A. to his paternal grandfather and
step-grandmother, Carter and Linda Lang." Id.
In February 2008, the chancellor signed an order that
disposed of numerous motions filed by the parties.
Id. " In doing so, the chancellor granted
Claire's requests to withdraw her previously filed motion
for an accounting of [Brenda's] estate and her petition
for Knox's disqualification as estate executor."
Id. The chancellor further ordered Knox, as
executor, to take the following actions upon the closing of
[L]ist the household goods and personal belongings of Brenda
. . ., as well as lockbox contents[, ] that came into his
possession as [e]xecutor and . . . state where these items
are presently located, and any items converted to his
personal possession or disposed of for his benefit will be
noted and charged against any [e]xecutor's fee, as may be
determined and approved by this [c]ourt[; and] . . . .
[F]urnish an accounting of [Brenda's] [e]state from the
date of death to the date of any final decree granting Claire
. . . [g]uardianship of [D.A.] due to the appeal on file at
this time . . . and that Claire . . . is entitled to an
accounting, if and when she becomes a vested remainder
beneficiary of this estate from the date of such vesting
until delivery of assets to her.
Id. (emphasis added by Court of Appeals).
"Despite withdrawing her first motion for an
accounting" in August 2015, Claire, proceeding pro
se, filed a second "petition for a full
accounting," alleging "that Knox and others
associated with the administration of Brenda's estate had
mismanaged and misappropriated estate and trust assets."
Id. Claire claimed that "even though she was a
remainder beneficiary of [Brenda's] will, she still [had]
standing to demand an accounting." Id.
In February 2016, "Knox filed a final accounting in
[Brenda's] estate and a petition to be discharged as
executor." Id. at *3. "[A]s provided in
the  decree, Knox prepared the estate accounting and
presented it in camera to the chancellor, D.A., and
D.A.'s guardians, the Langs." Id.
In March 2016, the chancery court denied Claire's August
2015 "petition for a full accounting of [Brenda's]
estate and testamentary trust," acknowledging the
court's prior ruling "that Claire would be entitled
to an accounting 'if and when she [became] a vested
remainder beneficiary' of [Brenda's] estate."
Id. Claire filed a motion for reconsideration, which
the chancery court denied. Id.
The Court of Appeals reversed the chancery court's order
denying Claire and Jane's request for an accounting,
finding that Brenda's will gave Claire and Jane a
shifting executory interest in the assets of the testamentary
trust. Flowers, 2018 WL 718626, at *4. And
"[a]s holders of a shifting executory interest in their
mother's estate, Claire and Jane possess limited rights
to enjoin the possessory owners from future waste of ...