FULTON – An Itawamba County land dispute will return to chancery court for an order confirming its title to a couple’s son.
The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday reversed a 2006 decision by Chancellor Talmadge Littlejohn, who said the estate of Gocher and Reba Morrow was left in equal parts to their three sons, Phillip, Ronald and Joel.
Phillip appealed, saying he held a remainder interest and the property was vested in him at his parents’ death.
The MSSC ruling written by Justice Ann Lamar, with a 9-0 vote, also reversed a Court of Appeals affirmation of Littlejohn’s decision.
At issue was about 200 acres, which the father offered to all three sons if they would move home and help him farm. Phillip said he was the only one who took his father up on the offer.
While changes occurred in the deeds, to Phillip and then back to his parents for a life estate and tax purposes, they hired a local attorney to do the work although the deeds’ filings occurred slightly out of order.
When the parents died in 1999 and 2000, Phillip filed to confirm his sole ownership. But the chancery court found that the property should pass in equal parts to the brothers because the final deed was back to the parents.
The supreme court examined the deeds and agreed that the final one actually vested the title to Phillip based on its filing date, which it said signified when the deed was delivered and accepted.