FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, THIRD DIVISION [NO.
60PR-17-537] HONORABLE CATHLEEN V. COMPTON, JUDGE
M. Evans, pro se appellant.
BRANDON J. HARRISON, JUDGE.
appellant David Evans appeals the Pulaski County Circuit
Court order finding a family-settlement agreement valid and
denying his claim that his brother, Joseph Evans, had
mishandled their mother's estate. He argues that he has
been bullied by his siblings and denied his fair share of
their mother's estate. We affirm.
March 2017, David filed a "petition for probate of will
and appointment of personal representative." In the
petition, he alleged that his mother, Joan Edwards Williams,
had died on 19 December 2013, and that she had a written will
that had not been admitted to probate. David alleged that
Joseph had mishandled their mother's estate and requested
that the court "review" the estate. David also
filed his mother's will, which directed that her property
be distributed equally between David, Joseph, and Joan's
stepdaughter, Camille Bennett. The will also appointed Joseph
supplemental pleading filed in May 2017, David explained that
while his mother was in hospice care, Camille, who is a
lawyer, presented papers for him to sign that would
"keep [the will] out of probate." He claimed that
he had been "bullied" by Joseph and Camille since
Joan's death and that he did not receive his "full
third" of his mother's estate.
filed an answer in July 2017 and alleged that he, David, and
Camille had entered into a parol family-settlement agreement
on 9 December 2013 and that he (Joseph) distributed
David's share of their mother's estate to him between
16 December 2013 and 9 January 2014. Joseph also asserted
that any cause of action David might have had was barred by
the statute of limitations for the enforcement of parol
contracts, which is three years. In a supporting brief,
The three devisees of Mrs. Williams' will-Camille
Bennett, Joe Evans III [Joseph], and David Matthew
Evans-reached a parol agreement not to probate Mrs.
Williams' estate but to instead divide Mrs. Williams'
property out of Court. Part of the division of property was
to give each devisee a paid off home. In performance of the
parol agreement, Mrs. Bennett had a deed prepared in which
she and David Matthew Evans disclaimed any present or future
interest in Mrs. Williams' residence. Joe Evans III
executed the deed in his mother's name under a valid
power of attorney which is on file with the Pulaski County
Circuit Clerk. In the weeks following his mother's death,
Joe Evans III paid for Mrs. Williams' final expenses,
paid off all known creditors, and paid over David Matthew
Evans' share of Mrs. Williams' personal property. Joe
Evans III paid over everything due David Matthew Evans by
January 9, 2014.
circuit court convened a hearing on 2 August 2017. David and
Camille appeared pro se; Joseph was represented by counsel.
After hearing testimony from all parties, the court took the
matter under advisement. On 8 August 2017, the circuit court
issued an order finding that the parties had voluntarily
entered into a family-settlement agreement and that there
were no assets that would be subject to probate if the will
was to be probated by the court. The court concluded:
1. The pleadings did not seek the appointment of an executor
or administrator and, accordingly, this Court is not going to
appoint an executor or administrator.
2. Even though this Court is not appointing an administrator
or executor, the Court finds, based upon the testimony and
documents provided at the hearing, that more than three years
have passed since the Family Agreement was orally entered
into by the parties, and the assets were conveyed under that
agreement. Because no evidence was presented that any longer
statute of limitations is applicable in this case, the
statute of limitations for contesting the Family Agreement is
three (3) years.
3. Accordingly based upon the facts presented, the Family
Agreement is valid and all assets were properly distributed
according to its terms. Therefore, there is no evidence that
any assets are subject to probate.
4. Further, the transfer of assets was not mishandled by
Joseph Evans III. Matthew [David] Evans presented no evidence
that he is a proper creditor; and ...