219 S.W. 4 (Tenn. 1920), Payne v. Payne

Citation:219 S.W. 4, 142 Tenn. 320
Opinion Judge:LANSDEN, C.J.
Party Name:PAYNE v. PAYNE.
Case Date:February 25, 1920
Court:Supreme Court of Tennessee
 
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219 S.W. 4 (Tenn. 1920)

142 Tenn. 320

PAYNE

v.

PAYNE.

Supreme Court of Tennessee.

February 25, 1920

         Certiorari to Court of Civil Appeals.

         Mrs. Lilla A. Payne, a resident of Hamilton county, Tenn., applied for and obtained letters of administration upon the estate of Simpson P. Payne, and thereafter Mrs. Icedora K. Payne filed a petition in the county court of Hamilton county, alleging that she was the lawful widow and entitled to administration. The petition was dismissed, but on appeal to the circuit court the letters of administration issued to Mrs. Lilla A. Payne were set aside, etc., and she appealed to the Court of Civil Appeals, and the cause was brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari. Judgment of circuit court affirmed.

         LANSDEN, C.J.

         The following statement of the case is taken from the opinion of the Court of Civil Appeals, which all parties agree is correct:

         "This case involves a contest between two claimants of the right to administer the estate of Simpson P. Payne, who died intestate in Shelby county, Tenn., on the 31st of October, 1917. Each of the contestants claims to be the lawful widow of said S. P. Payne, deceased.

         On November 23, 1917, Mrs. Lilla A. Payne, a resident of Hamilton county, Tenn., applied for and obtained letters of administration on said estate from the county court of Hamilton county, and duly qualified as such administratrix. On February 6, 1918, Mrs. Icedora K. Payne, a resident of Maury county, Tenn., filed a petition in the county court of Hamilton county, alleging that she is the lawful widow of said S. P. Payne, deceased; that the home and place of residence of said decedent was in Maury county, Tenn., and not in Hamilton county;

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that said Mrs. Lilla A. Payne, to whom letters of administration had been issued, was neither widow, relative, nor creditor of said decedent, and therefore had no right to administer upon his estate. The petitioner prayed that Mrs. Lilla A. Payne be made a defendant to said petition, and be required to appear and make defense to same; that the letters of administration granted to Mrs. Lilla A. Payne be revoked, recalled, and canceled, and that petitioner be left in position to be appointed and qualified as administratrix by the county court of Maury county, Tenn., the place of residence of the deceased, S. P. Payne, or, should the court determine that the said S. P. Payne, deceased, did have a place of residence in Hamilton county, that petitioner be appointed the administratrix of her said deceased husband's estate.

         On February 28, 1918, Mrs. Lilla A. Payne filed an answer to said petition, in which she denied that petitioner is the lawful widow of S. P. Payne, deceased, and averred that she (Mrs. Lilla A. Payne) is the lawful widow of said decedent. She denied that said decedent was a resident of Maury county, Tenn., at the time of his death, and averred that at that time his legal residence was in Hamilton county, Tenn. Mrs. Lilla A. Payne also alleged in her answer that she is a creditor of the estate of S. P. Payne, deceased, in the sum of $1,000, evidenced by promissory note executed by deceased December 10, 1912, which note is outstanding and unpaid.

         The cause was heard before the judge of the county court upon the petition, answer, and proof, upon which the court found that the letters of administration to Mrs. Lilla A. Payne were not improvidently granted, and that the petition and proof did not show proper cause for revocation, and the court dismissed the petition of Mrs. Icedora K. Payne, and taxed her and the sureties on her cost bond with all the costs of the proceeding. Mrs. Icedora K. Payne prayed, was granted, and perfected an appeal to the circuit court of Hamilton county, where the cause was heard upon the transcript from the county court and proof introduced upon the trial, whereupon the circuit court found that the letters of administration issued to Mrs. Lilla A. Payne by the county court 'were improvidently issued under the erroneous assumption that said defendant was the legal widow of the intestate when in fact she was not the legal widow.'

         We shall designate Mrs. Lilla A. Payne as appellant and Mrs. Icedora K. Payne as appellee.

         It is admitted on the record that the appellee Mrs. Icedora K. Payne holds a certified copy of marriage license issued by the county court clerk of Maury county, Tenn., on the 8th day of December, 1875, upon which the return is made by J. W. Howard as the officiating minister, showing that Icedora K. Payne (then Icedora Mathews) was married to the deceased, S. P. Payne, on the 9th day of December, 1875, and that she also holds a certified copy from the marriage license book of Maury county, Tenn., showing the proper indorsement and return of said license.

         It is also admitted on the record that Mrs. Lilla A. Payne holds a certified copy of license from Pulaski county, state of Arkansas, showing...

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