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Williams v. Estate of Williams

(1993)

Tennessee Supreme Court - 865 S.W.2d 3

tl;dr:

One of three daughters who has received their fathers farm in his will outlived the other two and sought to have the will construed so that she owned the whole farm after the passing of her sisters. The court held that they had had life estates.

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Facts & HoldingWilliams v. Estate of Williams case brief facts & holding

Facts:The testator of a will left his farm to his...

Holding:The appeals court reversed. The court has a duty to...

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Majority opinion, author: REID, Chief Justice.
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This case involves the interpretation of G.A. Williams' will and the ownership of a farm in McMinn County. The will leaves the farm to his three daughters, including Ethel Williams, with a life estate and a prohibition on sale during their lifetime. The Chancellor initially ruled that Ethel had a remainder interest, but later determined that the named daughters have the property in fee simple, as argued by Ethel. The Court of Appeals upheld the decision, but the validity of the ruling is disputed due to incomplete evidence in the court record. The court's primary responsibility is to interpret the language of the will fairly and ascertain the testator's intent, without resorting to arbitrary rules or other wills. The testator's intent must prevail, unless it conflicts with a legal principle or public policy.

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