Bond v. EState D. Pylant Ii

CourtAlabama Court of Civil Appeals
Citation63 So.3d 638
Docket Number2090406 and 2090422.
PartiesKatie BOND, a minor, by and through her guardian ad litemv.ESTATE OF Kenneth D. PYLANT II, deceased, et al.Bethany Pylantv.Katie Bond, a minor, by and through her guardian ad litem.Kim Bondv.Estate of Kenneth D. Pylant II, deceased, et al.Bethany Pylantv.Kim Bond.
Decision Date17 September 2010

63 So.3d 638

Katie BOND, a minor, by and through her guardian ad litem
v.
ESTATE OF Kenneth D. PYLANT II, deceased, et al.Bethany Pylant
v.
Katie Bond, a minor, by and through her guardian ad litem.Kim Bond
v.
Estate of Kenneth D. Pylant II, deceased, et al.Bethany Pylant
v.
Kim Bond.

2090406 and 2090422.

Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama.

Sept. 17, 2010.Certiorari Denied Nov. 12, 2010


Alabama Supreme Court 1091787.

[63 So.3d 639]

Katherine M. Klos of Akridge & Balch, P.C., Auburn, for appellant/cross-appellee Katie Bond, a minor, by and through her guardian ad litem.Robert G. Poole, W. David Dawson, and Jonathan K. Corley of Whittelsey, Whittelsey & Poole, P.C., Opelika, for appellant/cross-appellee Kim Bond.Ruth S. Sullivan, Dadeville; and Charles R. Gillenwaters, Alexander City, for cross-appellant Bethany Pylant.James B. Sprayberry, Auburn, executor of the estate of Kenneth D. Pylant II.Blake L. Oliver of Adams, Umbach, Davidson & White, LLP, Opelika, for appellees Adam Pylant and Kenneth D. Pylant III.BRYAN, Judge.

Following the removal of the administration of the estate of Kenneth Pylant II, deceased (“Pylant”), from the Probate Court of Lee County (“the probate court”) to the Lee Circuit Court (“the circuit court”), the circuit court entered a judgment that, among other things, determined who was entitled to certain land in Lee County (“the disputed land”) and whether Pylant's estate was responsible for paying certain debts Pylant and his widow, Kim Bond (“Kim”), owed at his death. In appeal no. 2090406, Katie Bond (“Katie”), a minor, who is one of three children Pylant and Kim had together, appeals the circuit court's judgment insofar as it determined who was entitled to the disputed land. In appeal no. 2090422, Kim appeals the circuit court's judgment insofar as it determined

[63 So.3d 640]

who was entitled to the disputed land and whether the estate was responsible for debts Pylant and she owed at his death. Pylant's former wife, Bethany Pylant (“Bethany”), cross-appeals insofar as the circuit court's judgment determined who was entitled to the disputed land. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

The following facts are undisputed. Pylant and Bethany married in 1981 and had four sons together, Kenneth Pylant III (“Ken”), who was born in 1982; Adam Pylant (“Adam”), who was born in 1985; Blake Pylant (“Blake”), who was born in 1991; and Will Pylant (“Will”), who was born in 1992.

During the marriage between Pylant and Bethany, Pylant acquired title in his name only to a 15–acre parcel of land in Lee County (“the 15–acre parcel”). Also during the marriage between Pylant and Bethany, Pylant and Bethany acquired title as joint tenants with right of survivorship to a 71.73–acre parcel of land in Lee County (“the 71.73–acre parcel”). The disputed land consists of the 15–acre parcel and the 71.73–acre parcel. Both the 15–acre parcel and the 71.73–acre parcel abut the western right-of-way of Cox Road; the southern boundary of the 15–acre parcel and the northern boundary of the 71.73–acre parcel are coterminous. A blue house with a street address of 1990 Cox Road is located on the 15–acre parcel. A house with a street address of 2010 Cox Road is located on the 71.73–acre parcel.

On December 27, 1993, Pylant and Bethany signed a separation agreement (“the separation agreement”). In pertinent part, the separation agreement stated:

“1. [Bethany] shall be vested with all the right, title and interest, in and to the home located at 2010 Cox Road, Auburn, Alabama and the surrounding approximately four (4) acres, the pool house and pool. A diagram with approximate lines of division is attached hereto as Exhibit ‘A’. In addition to the home and four (4) acres, [Bethany] shall have all the right, title and interest in and to twenty two (22) acres, for a total of twenty six (26) acres, more or less.

“2. [Pylant] shall have all the right, title and interest in and to the remainder of the land, which is 60.71 acres, more or less.1

“3.[Pylant] shall have all the right, title and interest in and to 1990 Cox Road, which is a blue house situated on approximately fifteen (15) acres.[2

“....

“15. [Bethany], at the time of this divorce, will obtain ownership to a coastal hayfield located around the home. [Bethany] shall be obligated to continue to lease this coastal field to [Pylant] at the fair market value. The parties agree that the fair market value as of September, 1993, is $20.00 per acre, per year. [Bethany] shall be obligated to continue to lease this field to [Pylant] as long as he desires to continue the lease at the fair market value, provided it has been properly maintained with fencing, fertilizer and maintenance at [Pylant's] expense.

“....

“23. Each party agrees to execute whatever documents are necessary to

[63 So.3d 641]

effect this agreement or the related conveyances. This would include, but not be limited to, deeds....

“31. Each of the parties shall on demand execute and deliver to the other any deeds ... to effectuate the provisions and purposes of this agreement....”

On January 26, 1994, the circuit court entered a judgment divorcing Pylant and Bethany and incorporating the settlement agreement. The deeds contemplated by the settlement agreement with respect to the 71.73–acre parcel and the 15–acre parcel were never executed.

In June 1994, Pylant and Bethany executed a note payable to Auburn University Federal Credit Union (“Auburn Credit Union”) in the principal amount of $35,000 and secured its payment by executing a mortgage on a 3–acre portion of the 26 acres allocated to Bethany by the settlement agreement.

After his January 26, 1994, divorce from Bethany, Pylant and Kim had three children together. Their eldest child, Katie, was born in September 1994. Pylant and Kim ceremonially married on April 30, 2004.

In 1996, Pylant and Kim executed a note payable to AuburnBank in the principal amount of $57,500 and secured its payment by executing a mortgage on a parcel of land located on North Ryan Street in Auburn, which they owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship. In 2002, Pylant and Kim executed a note payable to Union Bank in the principal amount of $96,000 and secured its payment by executing a mortgage on 20 acres of land that was titled in Kim's name only. In 2004, Pylant and Kim executed a note payable to AuburnBank in the principal amount of $675,550.20 and secured its payment by executing a mortgage on land located on Pirates Cove in Tallassee, which they owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship.

Pylant executed a will (“the will”) on March 19, 2001. On December 16, 2004, Pylant and Kim signed a written agreement stating, in pertinent part, that “it is agreed that if either spouse dies, all mortgages and debts of both parties will be paid in full by the estate of the deceased spouse and become the property of the surviving spouse.” They each signed that agreement in the presence of a single witness.

On September 5, 2005, Pylant was killed in a motorcycle accident. After Pylant died, the original of the will could not be found. However, the executor named in the will petitioned the probate court to admit a copy of the will to probate. Following a hearing, the probate court admitted the copy of the will to probate on November 19, 2005. Thereafter, Kim attempted to contest the will, but her will contest was dismissed due to her failure to comply with the statutes governing will contests. She appealed to the supreme court, which affirmed the dismissal of her will contest. See Bond v. Pylant, 3 So.3d 852 (Ala.2008).

In pertinent part, the will provides:

“ARTICLE I

“I desire that all my just debts, including the expense of my last illness, be paid by my Executor, hereinafter named, as soon after my death as may be practicable.

“ARTICLE II

“....

“(H) I direct that my Executor divide the eighty-eight (88) acres (approximately) that I own in Lee County,3 Alabama as follows:

[63 So.3d 642]

“(1) I give, devise and bequeath ten (10) acres that adjoins Artie Bond's property and/or [Kim's] to [Kim and Katie] in equal shares.4

“(2) The remaining seventy-eight (78) acres (approximate) I give, devise and bequeath to my children Ken Pylant, Adam Pylant, Blake Pylant and Will Pylant in equal shares. This seventy-eight (78) acres and rental home are located at 1990 Cox Road, Auburn, Alabama.” 5

In January 2009, pursuant to a petition filed by the executor, the administration of Pylant's estate was removed from the probate court to the circuit court. In the circuit court, the parties delineated the following issues for determination by the circuit court: (1) whether the separation agreement was unenforceable because Bethany had been fraudulently induced to sign it; (2) whether the separation agreement, which was incorporated into the January 26, 1994, judgment divorcing Pylant and Bethany, terminated their joint tenancy with right of survivorship with respect to the 71.73–acre parcel and vested Bethany with exclusive title to 26 acres of that parcel, vested Pylant with exclusive title to 45.73 acres of that parcel, and vested Pylant with exclusive title to the 15–acre parcel; (3) whether Bethany and Pylant established a common-law marriage after their January 26, 1994, divorce; (4) whether the estate was responsible for paying the debt owed jointly by Pylant and Bethany to Auburn Credit Union; and (5) whether the estate was responsible for paying the debts owed jointly by Pylant and Kim to AuburnBank and Union Bank. For the purposes of determining the last two issues, the parties stipulated that the land securing the payment of the debt jointly owed by Pylant and Bethany and the land securing the payment of the debt jointly owed by Pylant and Kim were not part of Pylant's probate estate.

Following a bench trial at which it received evidence ore tenus, the circuit court, on October 27, 2009, entered a judgment stating, in pertinent part:

“[T]he Court finds that a valid and binding...

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2 cases
  • Bond v. McLaughlin, 1151215
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 24 February 2017
    ...respects; and we remand the action to the circuit court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion." Bond v. Estate of Pylant, 63 So.3d 638, 647 (Ala. Civ. App. 2010). The circuit court's statement that the "will at issue," i.e., the copy of the last will, is valid was not address......
  • Hunt v. Federated Fin. Corp. of Am., 2090973.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • 22 July 2011
    ...at 1086.'" Retail Developers of Alabama, LLC v. East Gadsden Golf Club, Inc., 985 So.2d 924, 929 (Ala.2007)." Bond v. Estate of Pylant, 63 So.3d 638, 643–44 (Ala.Civ.App.2010). In the present case, the burden was on FFCA to prove that Hunt's account had been assigned to FFCA. See Auerbach v......

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