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Posted by: Landry Butler on May 5, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Charles Stephen Michels, II, and David J. Callahan, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Gary Wayne Farmer, Rita Gail Reed, and Roger Farmer.

Attorneys 2:

Larry Leonard Roberts and John S. Roberts, Nashville, Tennesssee, for the appellee, Sharon Farmer Lovett.

Judge(s): GIBSON

This appeal arises from a will contest. The decedent-mother had four children but left the majority of her estate to one daughter. The three plaintiff-siblings allege that the defendant-daughter exercised undue influence over their mother to induce her to change her will before she died. In the midst of a bench trial, the trial court entered an involuntary dismissal sua sponte at the close of plaintiffs’ proof. The trial court found that a confidential relationship existed between the decedent-mother and the defendant-daughter, but the court also found by clear and convincing evidence that the mother was not influenced in the execution of her will. For the following reasons, we vacate the dismissal and remand for further proceedings.