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Saylor v. Saylor

Supreme Court of Alabama

December 5, 2014

Korie Sterling Saylor
v.
Jonathan Fred Saylor, as personal representative of the Estate of Woodie Jim Saylor, deceased

Appeal from Marshall Circuit Court. (CV-12-0101).

For Appellant: Stephen M. Wilson, Huntsville.

For Appellee: Clint L. Maze, Burke, Beuoy & Maze, PC, Arab.

MURDOCK, Justice. Moore, C.J., and Bolin and Main, JJ., concur. Bryan, J., concurs in the result.

OPINION

MURDOCK, Justice.

Korie Sterling Saylor appeals from a summary judgment denying her claim for an elective share of the estate of her deceased husband, Woodie Jim Saylor. We affirm.

I. Facts and Procedural History

Woodie and Korie married in October 2005. Woodie died in May 2011. In addition to Korie, Woodie was survived by Jonathan Fred Saylor, an adult son from Woodie's previous marriage.

A few weeks after Woodie's death, Jonathan filed a petition to probate Woodie's

Page 999

will in the Marshall Probate Court.[1] The petition also requested that the probate court appoint Jonathan as personal representative of Woodie's estate (" the estate" ).

Woodie's will requests that Jonathan be appointed as personal representative of the estate, and the will relieves the personal representative of the obligations to provide a bond and to file an inventory.[2] In regard to the distribution of the estate, Woodie's will states:

" I GIVE, DEVISE AND BEQUEATH all my property of whatever nature and wherever situated, including any property over which I may have a power of appointment, to my son, JONATHAN FRED SAYLOR, if he survives me. HOWEVER, I GIVE, DEVISE AND BEQUEATH a life estate in and to my home and real property where my wife and I reside at the time of my death, to my wife, KORIE STERLING SAYLOR."

(Capitalization in original.)

Contemporaneously with the filing of the petition to probate Woodie's will, Jonathan also filed a document executed by Korie. In that document, Korie acknowledged that she had received notice of the filing of the petition to probate Woodie's will, and she consented to the admission of the will to probate without further notice to her.[3] See Ala. Code 1975, § 43-8-164 (notice requirements for hearing to probate a will).

On June 13, 2011, the probate court entered an order admitting Woodie's will to probate and appointing Jonathan as the personal representative of the estate (" the personal representative" ).

Korie did not file a petition for an elective share within six months after the will was admitted to probate. See Ala. Code 1975, § 43-8-73(a) (elective-share petition must be filed " within six months after the date of death, or within six months after the probate of the decedent's will, whichever limitation last expires" ). On December 22, 2011, Korie filed a " Request for Extension of Time to File Petition for Elective Share." In that document, she asserted:

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" 2. The estate is still under administration and has not been settled.
" 3. No accounting or inventory has been filed; [4] the assets and liabilities are unsettled at this point.
" 4. An extension is necessary to enable the widow to acquaint and familiarize herself of the condition of her husband's estate and make ...

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