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Wright v. Wright

Supreme Court of Georgia
512 S.E.2d 618 (1999)


Facts

In 1940, H.L. Wright, Sr. (Harve) and his son H.L. Wright, Jr. (Aitchey) purchased a farm together. Each had an undivided one-half interest in the land. Harve passed away two years later. He was survived by his wife and six children, three of whom were minors. In 1943, the Probate Court awarded Leila and her three minor children Harve’s undivided one-half interest in the farm. Leila and her minor children thereafter moved into the farm with Aitchey and his wife, Lorene. Leila left the farm in 1944, and by 1950, all her children had left as well. Beginning in 1941, the farm was taxed solely in Aitchey’s name. Lorene paid the tax bills for the farm every year since 1944. By 1944, Aitchey and Lorene had paid off the entire mortgage on the farm. Apart from one year, Lorene occupied the farm continuously. In 1962, Aitchey conveyed approximately nine acres of the farm to the county. He warranted that he had the right to sell and convey the land. He also granted easements for construction of a roadway, a dam, and a reservoir. He did not seek permission from his siblings before making these conveyances. Neither Leila nor Aitchey’s siblings ever made a claim to the farm. In the 1970s, his siblings confirmed that they were entitled to Harve’s interest in the farm. However, they feared Aitchey and therefore did not confront him. After Aitchey passed away, Lorene requested that Aitchey’s siblings execute quitclaim deeds conveying their interest to Aitchey’s estate. They refused and Lorene and her children brought this action to quiet title. The jury found that Lorene and Aitchey had acquired title to the entire farm through adverse possession.

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Holding and Reasoning (Thompson, J.)

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