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Ellis v. Thompson

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

December 4, 2019

Margaret ELLIS, Appellant
v.
Roger THOMPSON and Frances Thompson, Appellees

Page 775

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 776

          APPEAL FROM THE CROSS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 19CV-08-75], HONORABLE CHALK MITCHELL, JUDGE

         Andrea Brock, Forrest City, for appellant.

         Woodruff Law Firm, P.A., by: Jennifer Woodruff Douglas; and Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, for appellees.

         OPINION

         WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge

          This is a dispute between siblings over their late father’s estate. Appellant Margaret Ellis sued her brother and sister-in-law, appellees Roger Thompson and Frances Thompson, for an accounting, to set aside certain gifts allegedly made to Roger, and for various torts arising out of Roger’s alleged mishandling of the property of Edward Thompson, the now deceased father of Margaret and Roger, as a signatory on Edward’s bank accounts, and under a power of attorney granted to Roger. After a bench trial, the circuit court ruled that the statute of limitations barred some of Ellis’s claims, that she lacked standing to bring other claims, that the alleged gifts would not be set aside, and that Roger’s accounting was adequate. We affirm the circuit court.

          Facts and Procedural History

          Edward Thompson was the father of four children: appellant Margaret Ellis, appellee Roger Thompson, Phillip Thompson, and Barbara Mugge. Roger and Frances Thompson are husband and wife. In August 1997, Edward executed a power of attorney appointing Roger as his attorney-in-fact to act on Edward’s behalf and for all purposes. That power of attorney was recorded on January 31, 2002.

          On November 12, 1997, Roger and Frances were added as "agents" authorized to sign on Edward’s accounts at First National Bank and were listed as "authorized signers" only.

         On December 21, 2000, Roger and Phillip Thompson and their wives purchased two tracts totaling approximately 685 acres

Page 777

from Edward. They executed a promissory note for the purchase price in the amount of $256,556. The terms of the note were seven annual payments of $39,017.28 at 6 percent interest, and if not paid timely, then the entire note would bear interest at 10 percent. The note also contains an undated, typed statement signed by Edward that the note was to be canceled and forgiven in the event of his death. A copy of the note containing handwritten statements purportedly signed by Edward that payments were waived by gift on various dates was introduced into evidence.[1]

          In 2002, Edward received over $400,000 from the estate of his mother, Rosa Thompson, who died in 1997.

          Edward died on July 18, 2006. Upon Edward’s death, Roger opened the estate and was appointed personal representative. Ellis responded with a petition to set aside the will and to contest the will. On January 24, 2007, an agreed order was entered setting aside the will. On February 21, 2007, Roger filed an inventory in the probate case, and ...


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