Hull v. Prather

Decision Date06 April 1946
Docket Number36471.
Citation167 P.2d 600,161 Kan. 264
PartiesHULL v. PRATHER et al.
CourtKansas Supreme Court

Appeal from District Court, Greenwood County; W. N. Calkins, Judge.

Action in forcible detainer by Ida May Hull against Donald Prather and others. Judgment for defendants, and plaintiff appeals.

Syllabus by the Court.

A father devised to his son an estate for life in certain farm land and provided if the son died leaving a widow and children the widow should have a life estate in one-half of the land devised to the son, the remaining half to the son's children. The son and his wife executed a farm lease on the land for a term of one year, the lessee having the option to renew it from year to year for an additional five-year period. The son died during the term of the lease extended by the option, leaving a widow and two children. Held, (1) the widow had an interest in the land at the time the lease was executed; (2) that it was her contract as well as the contract of her husband; and (3) that the lease did not become a nullity upon the death of the son of the testator.

Kenneth K. Cox, of Wichita (Lew N. Clogston, of Wichita, on the brief), for appellant.

Carl C Chase, of Eureka, for appellees.

HARVEY Chief Justice.

This was an action in forcible detainer brought in the county court of Greenwood county and which reached the district court by appeal, where, after a hearing, the court rendered judgment for defendants. Plaintiff has appealed.

In her complaint, filed March 26, 1945, plaintiff alleged she was the owner of a described quarter section of land in Greenwood county; that she became such owner May 31 1944; that since such date defendants have been in peaceable possession of such property by sufferance; that on January 25, 1945, she made written demand upon defendants for the immediate possession of the property, and on March 8, 1945 notified defendants to vacate the property, for the possession of which an action was about to be brought, and prayed for restitution of the property. The defendants were the widow and children of W. G. Prather.

Defendants filed answers in which they denied plaintiff's right to possession of the property and alleged that on July 9, 1940, plaintiff and her husband, P. L. Hull, executed a written lease for the farm, a copy of which was attached, to W. G. Prather for one year ending March 1, 1942, with an option to extend the same from year to year for five years from that date; that W. G. Prather went into possession of the property and each year exercised his option to extend the lease; that W. G. Prather died intestate March 22, 1943; that in a proceeding brought in the probate court therefor the court assigned all the real and personal property of W. G. Prather to his heirs, and that on May 4, 1944, the children of W. G. Prather assigned all of the personal property to his widow, Mrs. W. G. Prather, who became the sole owner of the leasehold estate; that the defendant Donald Prather, a son of W. G. Prather and his wife, was farming the place for his mother, Mrs. W. G. Prather, and that defendants had informed plaintiff they would continue the lease contract until the expiration of its term; and further alleged that plaintiff had at all times recognized the contract and accepted benefits therefrom and was therefore estopped from denying the contract or claiming immediate possession of the property.

To these answers plaintiff filed a reply which consisted of a general denial.

The pertinent findings of the trial court may be summarized as follows: P. E. Hull died May 10, 1912, leaving a will, which was duly probated, in which he devised an undivided one-half interest in the real property in controversy (and other land) to his son, P. L. Hull, for life, and if he died leaving a widow and children the widow should have a life estate in one-half of the real estate devised to P. L. Hull and the remaining one-half to go to the children of P. L. Hull; that P. L. Hull died May 31, 1944, and left surviving his widow, Ida May Hull, the plaintiff herein, and two children; that under the terms of the will of P. E. Hull the plaintiff, Ida May Hull, has a life estate in an undivided one-fourth interest in the land in controversy and the two children are the owners of an undivided one-fourth thereof; that the ownership of the remaining one-half interest in the property was not disclosed by the evidence that while the plaintiff alleged she was the owner of the real estate in controversy she testified that she claimed to have a life estate therein. The court further found that on July 9, 1940, P. L. Hull and his wife, Ida May Hull, entered into a written real estate lease to the property here involved to W. G. Prather for a term of one year from March 1, 1941, with the option of leasing the same for five years upon the giving of notice to exercise the option each year; that the manner of giving notice of the exercise of the option was not provided for in the lease, but that in fact...

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4 cases
  • McCain v. McCain
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • May 8, 1976
    ...of the estate of the life tenant of each tract. Nevertheless his interests are vested remainders which may be sold (Hull v. Prather, 161 Kan. 264, 167 P.2d 600; Stevenson v. Stevenson, 102 Kan. 80, 169 P. 552; Ghormley v. Kleeden, 155 Kan. 319, 124 P.2d 467; Woolums v. Simonsen, 214 Kan. 72......
  • State v. Smith
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • April 6, 1946
  • Kelly v. Grimshaw
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • April 6, 1946
  • Dethlefs v. Carrier
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • May 4, 1954
    ...March 1, 1954, upon the same terms as the original lease for the year commencing March 1, 1952. See in this connection Hull v. Prather, 161 Kan. 264, 167 P.2d 600. We believe defendant is in no better position than she would have been if she had signed plaintiff's lease. The validity of Cod......

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