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HOUSTON, Executor v. POLLARD.
21267.
Specific performance. Worth Superior Court. Before Judge Gray.
HEAD, Presiding Justice.
For the reasons appearing in the opinion the trial judge erred in overruling the general demurrers of the defendant.
Mrs. Virginia Manning Pollard brought a petition against G. L. Houston, as executor of the will of W. C. Manning, who died on September 17, 1960. It was alleged: Under the original will of W. C. Manning, dated October 17, 1958, the petitioner was devised a described tract of land, being all of the land owned by W. C. Manning. This will by W. C. Manning was revoked by his marriage with Mrs. Lula Vercie Manning, and in a codicil republishing the will, executed on May 12, 1960, he struck the devise to the petitioner and gave the land to Mrs. Lula Vercie Manning. On October 17, 1958, the petitioner entered into an oral contract with W. C. Manning, her father, "under the terms of which she agreed to furnish her father with money in the minimum amount of $50 per month, to be called for by him at such times and in such amounts as he desired to request; this arrangement to continue for and during his remaining years in life and as long as he could live; and the said W. C. Manning upon his part realizing that there was outstanding then a deed to secure debt in favor of the Federal Land Bank, securing a loan upon said property, and further realizing and recognizing that no one could determine how long a period of time these advances to him would have to continue or what amount would be required to be expended by your petitioner for his support, comfort and maintenance, agreed that he would execute and deliver to petitioner notes in the amount of $500 each which said notes were secured by a deed to secure debt upon the 67 acres tract of land in lot 334 in the 7th District of Worth County which said deed created a lien (subject to the Federal Land Bank's lien) for the $500 note executed the same date as the said security deed and for any additional notes or amounts which were to be advanced to him by your petitioner. And the said W. C. Manning further agreed at said time in said oral agreement and oral contract to make a will in which he would devise and bequeath the said 67 acre tract of land, and any and all equity and interest he might have therein at the time of his death to Mrs. Virginia Manning Pollard, your petitioner. " (Italics ours.) In pursuance of the contract, W. C. Manning on October 17, 1958, executed to the petitioner a note for $500 and a deed to secure debt, securing the note and securing the petitioner for any and all future advances which she might make to her father. The petitioner made the advances as required under the agreement, and on February 23, 1960, her father, realizing that he had exhausted the amount of the first note, made an additional note for $500. The petitioner fully complied with the terms of the oral agreement with her father by furnishing him with such funds as he requested of her until the time of his death, but her father breached his contract with her by the execution of the codicil to his will in which she was totally excluded. The contract entered into between the petitioner and her father was fair and just. At the time the contract was made the property was worth from $6,000 to $8,000, and there was outstanding a deed to secure debt in favor of the Federal Land Bank of Columbia,
South Carolina, of approximately $2,500. " The amount contemplated between petitioner and her father to be advanced yearly was $600 and considering the uncertainty of how long this would be required and the likelihood of further advances occasioned by ill health and the payment of last sickness and funeral expenses the said W. C. Manning realized that the probability was that at his death he would have a very small equity, if any at all in this tract of land. " (Italics ours.) Her father was 77 years of age at the time the contract was made and had a life expectancy of 5.85 years. The terms of the contract were fair, equitable, and just. It is the intention of the executor to sell the property of W. C. Manning for the purpose of paying debts, and to deliver the remainder of the sum realized from the sale of the property to the widow, Mrs. Lula Vercie Manning, as directed in the codicil of the will, and unless a court of equity restrain the executor from disposing of the land, the damage to the petitioner will be irreparable. She has no adequate remedy at law. The prayers were that the defendant be restrained from selling or conveying the property of W. C. Manning, and that upon the trial of the case the petitioner have a decree of court declaring her to be the owner of the described tract of land, subject to the lien of the Federal Land Bank, the payment of the funeral expenses, and the cost of administration.
The general demurrers of the defendant were overruled, and the exception is to this judgment.
1. The petition in the present case nowhere alleges any consideration for the execution of a will by the deceased, W. C. Manning, wherein he would leave his estate to the petitioner. In paragraph 7, after alleging the contract and agreement between the parties as to the execution of a deed to secure debt and notes in connection therewith, it is stated: "And the said W. C. Manning further agreed at said time in said oral agreement and oral contract to make a will in which he would devise and bequeath the said 67 acre tract of land, and any and all equity and interest he might have therein at the time of his death to Mrs. Virginia Manning Pollard, your petitioner."
This is the sole allegation in the petition as to any agreement for the execution of a will by the deceased devising his property to the petitioner. It is not alleged that the consideration for the execution of a will by the deceased is the same consideration as that for the execution of the deed to secure debt, nor does such allegation otherwise show any consideration for the execution of the will.
"Essential allegations will neither be implied nor presumed, but must be distinctly averred; otherwise, the petition is defective." Ewing v. Paulk, 208 Ga. 722 (69 SE2d 268). "Upon demurrer, pleadings are to be construed most strongly against the pleader, and in the light of their omissions as well as their averments; and if an inference unfavorable to the right of a party claiming a right under such pleadings may be fairly drawn from the facts stated therein, such inference will prevail in determining the rights of the parties. Krueger v. MacDougald, 148 Ga. 429 (1) (96 SE 867); Hulsey v. Interstate Life &c. Insurance Co., 207 Ga. 167, 169 (60 SE2d 353)." Chalverus v. Wilson Mfg. Co., 212 Ga. 612 (94 SE2d 736). It can only be presumed that the petitioner placed her case in the light most favorable to her position, and that she did not allege any consideration for the execution of the will because, in fact, there was no such consideration.
2. The petition alleges that "the amount contemplated between petitioner and her father to be advanced yearly was $600 and considering the uncertainty of how long this would be required and the likelihood of further advances occasioned by ill health and the payment of last sickness and funeral expenses the said W. C. Manning realized that the probability was that at his death he would have a very small equity, if any at all in this tract of land." This allegation of the petition is vague, uncertain, and indefinite. Was it the agreement that the petitioner would pay the expenses of the last sickness and the funeral expenses of the deceased? This is inferred, but is not specifically stated.
"A contract upon which specific performance is sought must be certain, definite and clear, and so precise in its terms that neither party can reasonably misunderstand it." Studer v. Seyer, 69 Ga. 125, 126; Coleman v. Woodland Hills Co., 196 Ga. 626 (27 SE2d 226); Bullard v. Bullard, 202 Ga. 769 (44 SE2d 770); Charles v. Simmons, 215 Ga. 794, 797 (113 SE2d 604).
Applying the rule that on general demurrer the allegations of the petition must be construed most strongly against the pleader, the alleged agreement as to the consideration was not certain, definite, and clear, with that degree of preciseness in its terms so that neither party might reasonably misunderstand it.
3. If the petition should properly be construed as alleging that the agreement included the obligation on the part of the petitioner to pay the expenses of the last illness and the funeral expenses, then and in that event, there has been no compliance by the petitioner with this part of the agreement, for it is elsewhere shown in the petition that funeral expenses have not been paid, and the petition is wholly silent as to the payment of expenses connected with the last illness of the deceased.
"The specific performance of a parol contract as to land shall be decreed, if the defendant admits the contract, or if it be so far executed by the party seeking relief, and at the instance or by the inducements of the other party, that if the contract shall he abandoned he cannot be restored to his former position . . ." Code 37-802. Under the allegations of the petition with reference to the deed to secure debt, the petitioner has not so far performed her contract that she can not be restored to her former position, but, on the contrary, she can be reimbursed for every dollar advanced to her father, since under the allegations of the petition the value of the property of the deceased is in excess of the amount advanced by the petitioner under the deed to secure debt.
196-197; McWhorter v. O'Neal, 121 Ga. 539 (49 SE 592). Item 3 of the will recited in part as follows: "I am old, and have no income for my livelihood except the small amount received from 'Worth County Welfare.' The small amount received from the farm being required to pay taxes, insurance and loan payment. I have recently informed each of my children of my circumstance, and the fact that the small amount I receive will not purchase the necessities of life. Each of my children, except Mrs. Virginia Pollard, informed me that they were not able to give me any assistance whatsoever. Mrs. Virginia Pollard has agreed to furnish me at least fifty dollars a month, as long as I live, and to secure her I have this day executed a note and deed to secure debt in order to secure her from any loss whatsoever. It is also true that she has been very liberal in her contributions to me for a number of years. Since my said daughter, Mrs. Virginia Pollard, has seen fit to help me at this critical time, I feel that it is only right that I give her what equity I might have in this property at the time of my death."
This recitation on the part of the deceased as to why he was executing a will leaving his property to the petitioner clearly shows that it was not pursuant to any contract, but was because of appreciation, since his daughter had agreed to advance him money monthly under a deed to secure debt and had otherwise given him assistance.
Where the allegations of a petition and the exhibits attached thereto are in conflict (as in the present case as to the testator's reasons for the execution of his will), it is the general rule that the allegations of the petition must yield to the contradictory exhibits attached thereto. Vandiver v. Endicott, 215 Ga. 250 (109 SE2d 775); Harris v. Ackerman, 88 Ga. App. 128 (76 SE2d 132); Miles v. State of Ga., 96 Ga. App. 610, 615 (101 SE2d 173); Dell v. Kugel, 99 Ga. App. 551, 563 (109 SE2d 532),
Under the foregoing rulings, the petition did not state a cause of action for specific performance of an oral contract to make a will, and the court erred in overruling the general demurrers of the executor.
Robert B. Williams, contra.
Ford & Houston, Joe L. Houston, for plaintiff in error.
ARGUED JUNE 12, 1961 -- DECIDED SEPTEMBER 8, 1961.
Friday May 22 23:32 EDT


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