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Tait v. Community First Trust Co.

Arkansas Supreme Court
___ S.W.3d ___, 2012 Ark. 455


Facts

In November 2000, William J. Fowler and Annie R. Fowler created a family trust and appointed Community First Trust Company (Community First) (plaintiff) as trustee. The trust terms provided that the trust would be revocable until the death of either William or Annie. Upon the death of the surviving spouse, the trust would terminate and the trust property would be distributed to the beneficiaries of the trust. The beneficiaries included two of William’s stepchildren, Dale Paschal Jones and Billy Ray Jones. Dale passed away in November 2004, and was survived by his two daughters. Billy Ray passed away in November 2008, and was survived by his two daughters. William passed away in January 2011. On August 19, 2011, Community First filed a petition in Polk County Circuit Court to determine whether the interests of the deceased beneficiaries lapsed when they predeceased William, thereby barring their children from claiming their shares in the trust. The circuit court found that, under common law, the interests of the beneficiaries did not vest until William’s death. Thus, the court found the interests of Dale and Billy Ray lapsed when they predeceased William. The children of Dale and Billy Ray appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Goodson, 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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