Appeal from Mobile Circuit Court. (CV-92-3712). Lionel L. Layden, TRIAL JUDGE.
Released for Publication August 28, 1995.
Jones, Hornsby, C.j., and Maddox, Almon, Shores, Houston, Kennedy, Ingram, and Cook, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jones
Thomas E. Bryant, Jr., conservator of the estate of Frankie Ruth Gaston, an incapacitated person, appeals from a judgment of the Mobile Circuit Court refusing to set aside the transfers of property from the conservator's ward to the defendants.
We quote the entire text of the "Order and Judgment" appealed from:
"This matter came on for bench trial on August 8, 1994. All parties were present and represented by counsel. This case concerns the issue of whether certain inter vivos transfers of money and property made by Frankie Ruth Gaston to the defendants should be set aside because of undue influence. .... On August 8, 1994, the court received documentary evidence, testimony of witnesses, and argument of counsel. The case was taken under submission pursuant to this court's written order of August 8, 1994. After due deliberation, the court finds as follows:
"1. Although Frankie Ruth Gaston died on October 23, 1993, this action was brought by her duly appointed conservator while she was still alive, and is properly before this court.
"2. On July 31, 1991, Frankie Ruth Gaston sold certain real property located at Orange Beach, Alabama, to defendants Ruth Renee Turner and Steven W. Turner. The actual price paid for the property was $12,000. The property was appraised for $18,500.
"3. At a time prior to May 14, 1991, Frankie Ruth Gaston gave defendant W. F. Lawshe $9,000 toward the purchase of a pickup truck.
"4. On May 22, 1991, Frankie Ruth Gaston, for $1 and other consideration, sold to Thomas Lawshe a seventeen-foot proline boat and 65-horsepower Johnson [boat] motor. Thomas L. Lawshe subsequently paid $1,094.20 [for] repairs to said boat.
"5. All of the transfers complained of occurred prior to plaintiff's appointment as conservator for Frankie Ruth Gaston.
"6. There was insufficient evidence presented to support [a finding] of a confidential relationship between defendants Ruth Renee Turner, Steven W. Turner, W. F. Lawshe, or ...