Weedon is the decedent’s second wife. She was granted a life estate in her husbands land, for the remainder of her life. In consequence from the type of will created, she only had a life estate, thus she had limited transferability, and could not commit waste. The remaindermen, were grandchildren from the first marriage, in which, they would inherit there fathers land, once Weedon dies upon which she has no children of her own (which she didn’t).
The remaindermen did not want to sell the land, because they predicted that due to the construction of a bridge, which was a couple years a way from being built, the cost of the property would double (however, they did recognize the fact that Weedon needed money to live off of now).
Chancellor – granted this relief on the theory of economic waste.
The remaindermen were granted an interlocutory appeal on the forced sale decreed by the chancellery.
Can a life tenant maximize the value of the interest by forcing a sale of the affected land over the objections of the remainderman? (Thus, can a life tenant be granted a decree, for the courts to sell the land?)
Mississippi overruled an older approach they have used (which was, they could force the sell of land, from a life tenant, if the income derived was not enough to cover the taxes and maintenance of it) – however, this court decided to use the “necessary for the best interest of all the parties approach.”
“Deterioration and waste of property is not the exclusive and ultimate test to be used in determining whether a sale of land affected by future interest is proper, but also that consideration should be given to the question of whether a sale is necessary for the best interest of all the parties, that is, the life tenant and the contingent remaindermen.
City is growing around the land, the income of $1,000 that Weedon was receiving was not going to increase, and the land would increase due to the new highway.
Commercial property – present time = $168,500, 4 years from then = $336,000.
Mr. Baker had tried to sell the property on his own, but it has been slowed by the slowness of the construction of the highway.
Due to her age, 73, and the fact that she cannot live, Anna is requesting that the court force a sale of the land, and that the proceeds go to her.
Chancellor, lower court stated – “The nature of the land, as is, which was used for cultivating…is all intents and purposes unproductive when viewed in light of its capacity and that a continuing use under the present conditions would result in economic waste.”
Unique situation arises with a life estate – the remaindermen want interest in what is there’s after Anna dies, thus they don’t want all of the land sold because the land is drastically increasing in value.
**However, courts have recognized the inherent power of a court of equity to direct a judicial sale of land which is subject to a future interest….there needs to be a ‘necessity’ before the chancellery court can order a judicial sale of land…**
The best interest of all the parties would be to not sell all the land at this point in time, while it is true that immediate monies would benefit the life tenant who is worthy of this aid in equity, admitted by the remaindermen, it would nevertheless under the circumstances before us, cause great financial loss to the remaindermen.
Court wants the case to be remanded, where there can be a sale of not all the land, but only a portion of the land for the interest of the life tenant…which would not unjustly impinge on the rights of the remaindermen.