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Baker v. Weedon

Supreme Court of Mississippi
262 So.2d 641 (1972)


Facts

John Weedon had two children by his first wife. Eventually, he married Anna Plaxico (plaintiff) and bought a tract of land known as Oakland Farms with her. He and Anna worked the farm for most of their lives together. John’s will provided that all of his property was to go to Anna “during her natural life” and then to her children after her death. If Anna were to die without children then the property would go to “my grandchildren” in equal shares (i.e. the children of the children from his first marriage). He deliberately excluded his children from the will. Anna had no children, meaning that the grandchildren from John’s first marriage (Baker et al.) (defendants) came into an interest in the land upon John’s death. Anna’s advanced age and languishing health made it difficult for her to survive on the income from the farm. Meanwhile, urban development made the land more and more valuable for development purposes. Its value as farmland remained stagnant. Its commercial value during the dispute was $168,500. However, the value was estimated to increase to $336,000 within the next four years. Anna brought suit in Chancery Court to compel the immediate sale of the property so that she could use the proceeds to support herself and pay taxes. The chancellor granted Anna's request on the theory of economic waste. The Bakers filed an appeal to prevent Anna from selling the land in which they possessed a future interest, vesting after Anna’s death. The Bakers argued that because Oakland Farm was not deteriorating and there is sufficient income from rental to pay taxes, then a judicial sale was improper.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Patterson, J.)

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