Thompson v. BlackwellAnnotate this Case
This appeal centered on the proper interpretation of a will executed by Hodge King that appeared to leave certain real property to his wife, Hattie in fee simple, but that also appeared to leave this same property to Mr. King’s son and his son’s children upon Mrs. King’s death. After Mrs. King died, the executors of her estate became involved in a legal dispute with Mr. King’s grandchildren regarding whether Mrs. King’s estate owned the property in question in fee simple or whether Mr. King’s grandchildren held any legal interest in the property. The trial court ruled in favor of Mrs. King’s estate and assessed attorney fees against Mr. King’s grandchildren, prompting this appeal. The Supreme Court reversed: because the plain language of Mr. King’s will indicated that he intended to grant Mrs. King a life estate in his property with the remainder to be given to his son and grandchildren, the trial court erred in concluding that Mrs. King’s estate acquired Mr. King’s interest as a tenant in common in the four tracts of land in fee simple. Because the trial court erred by ruling in favor of Mrs. King's estate rather than the grandchildren, the trial court also erred in its award of attorney.