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Posted by: Karen Belcher on Jul 25, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Ginger Wilson Buchanan, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellants, John Darrell Vance, Nancy Ann Ferrara, Wendy Michelle Vance Knott, and William Landon Vance.

Attorneys 2:

O.E. Schow, IV and Robert L. Vance, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kimberly B. Jenkins.

Amy Bingham and Barry N. Blanton, Appellees.

Judge(s): GOLDIN

This appeal involves the interpretation and enforcement of a will executed by Wanda Joyce Watkins (“the Decedent”). Specifically at issue is a provision bequeathing the residue and remainder of the Decedent’s estate to her prior husband, Mr. John Vance (“Mr. Vance”). Although Mr. Vance’s children (“the Vance children”) claimed entitlement to the residuary estate by virtue of the anti-lapse statute codified at Tennessee Code Annotated section 32-3-105, the executrix of the estate contended that such a disposition was inconsistent with the Decedent’s intent. The trial court agreed with the position of the executrix and rejected the Vance children’s claim to receive under the will. The trial court also held that portions of the respective parties’ attorney’s fees should be paid by the estate. Although we reverse the trial court’s decision regarding the application of the anti-lapse statute, we affirm its order as it pertains to the assessment of attorney’s fees.