Pickens v. Black
Arkansas Supreme Court
885 S.W.2d 872, 318 Ark. 474 (1994)
R. A. Pickens died in 1991. R. A.’s will bequeathed his family homestead to his third wife, Carol Pickens (defendant), and not to his three adult children— Andrew Pickens, Madelyn Pickens Ashman, and Rebecca Jane Pickens Lambi (collectively, R. A.’s children) (plaintiffs)—with his first wife. R. A.’s children contested the will, in part arguing that R. A. had only a life estate in the homestead and, therefore, could not leave any interest in the homestead to Carol. The will of R. A.’s father, Burton Pickens, provided that the homestead went to his wife, Ollye Pickens, for her life and then to R. A. and “unto the heirs of his body in fee simple forever.” Burton’s will further stated that if at Ollye’s death, R. A. was not alive and did not have any surviving heirs of his body, then the remainder estate in the homestead would go to a trust. Ollye renounced Burton’s will and elected to take her dower’s share. The chancellor determined that Burton’s will created a life estate in Ollye with a remainder in R. A. in fee simple, but when Ollye took her dower’s share, the remainder vested in R. A. Accordingly, the chancellor dismissed the complaint by R. A.’s children. R. A.’s children appealed, arguing that Burton’s will create a life estate for Ollye followed by a life estate for R. A. followed by a contingent remainder in either R. A.’s bodily heirs or the trust.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Glaze, J.)
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