Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Reece v. Elliott case brief

Reece v. Elliott case brief summary
208 S.W.3d 419 (2006)

Appellant widow sought rescission of an antenuptial agreement based upon her claim that her late husband failed to make a full disclosure regarding his assets and financial condition. Appellees, co-executrices of the estate, relied on the agreement. The Chancery Court for Union County (Tennessee) entered judgment, finding that the antenuptial agreement was valid and enforceable and dismissed the widow's action. The widow appealed.


The widow's argument was that she did not enter into the agreement with full knowledge of the value of the deceased's assets because there was no value disclosed regarding the stock in a company.


  • The appellate court held that the widow had full knowledge that her husband was a man of wealth, as shown by the list of assets that was provided. 
  • The fact that there was no value listed for one particular asset, even though it was significant, did not invalidate the agreement that she entered freely. 
  • She consulted with independent counsel and admitted to clearly understanding what the agreement meant and that she would have no claim to any of those assets. 
  • She had the opportunity to ask questions about the assets and did not have her counsel investigate, stating that it "did not matter" because she knew the assets would not be hers. 
  • She admitted that her husband was never dishonest with her and was very straightforward and open with her about his financial dealings and never misled her. 
  • The widow did not avail herself of the opportunity to ask her husband the value of the stock nor make any independent investigation; therefore, the agreement was binding and enforceable on the widow.

The judgment of the trial court was affirmed. The cost of the appeal was assessed one-half to the widow and one half to the co-executrices.

Suggested Study Aids For Wills, Trusts & Estate Law

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