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Abo Petroleum Corporation v. Amstutz

Supreme Court of New Mexico
600 P.2d 278 (1979)


Facts

James and Amanda Turknett owned a property in fee simple. In 1908, the Turknetts executed deeds conveying life estates to their two daughters, Beulah and Ruby (the daughters), in two parcels of land. The deeds provided that, upon each daughter’s death, the interest in that parcel would revert to the daughter’s heirs. In 1911, the Turknetts executed another deed for Beulah’s life-estate property, purporting to convey absolute title to Beulah this time. In 1916, the Turknetts executed yet another deed to Beulah, this one granting a portion of the property included in her two previous deeds. A second deed was also executed to Ruby, claiming to be a “correction deed” for the 1908 deed. The daughters later attempted to convey fee-simple interests in their properties to Abo Petroleum (plaintiff). Beulah and Ruby’s children (the children) (defendants) contended that the 1908 deeds gave the daughters life estates in the property, and these were the only valid deeds. Thus, the daughters only conveyed life estates to Abo, and the children still owned the contingent remainders in the properties after the death of the daughters. Abo claimed the 1911 and 1916 deeds destroyed the heirs’ contingent-remainder interests and gave the daughters fee-simple title to the properties. Abo sued, and the district court sided with Abo. The children appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Payne, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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