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In re Succession of Naquin

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

November 5, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF THE SUCCESSION OF WILFRED JOSEPH NAQUIN, JR.

          Appealed from the 19th Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Case No. 100341 The Honorable Wilson E. Fields, Judge Presiding.

          Mark R. Callender Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for Appellant Wilfred James Naquin.

          Kevin P. Landreneau Johanna R. Landreneau Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for Appellee Elizabeth Naquin.

          BEFORE: GUIDRY, THERIOT, AND PENZATO, JJ.

          THERIOT, J.

         The appellant, Wilfred James Naquin, appeals the judgment of possession of the Nineteenth Judicial District Court in the Succession of Wilfred Joseph Naquin, Jr. For the following reasons, we reverse the judgment and remand to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The decedent, Wilfred Joseph Naquin, Jr., died testate on May 17, 2015. In his last will and testament, he named his two children, Wilfred James Naquin and Elizabeth Naquin, as the sole universal legatees and the independent co-executors of the entire estate.[1] Wilfred and Elizabeth filed a petition to probate the will and to be confirmed as co-independent executors on October 28, 2015. An order of Probate and letters of co-independent administration was signed by the district court on November 2, 2015.

         On April 28, 2017, Elizabeth filed a petition for possession and rule to show cause, claiming therein that no debts encumbered the estate, and no further administration was necessary, but that she and Wilfred had been unable to reach any agreement on the division of the estate property. Elizabeth further claimed that shortly after the decedent's death, Wilfred moved into the decedent's home with his family, living rent free.[2] Elizabeth also alleged that Wilfred had been farming on the property and keeping all of the profits for himself. Elizabeth prayed that Wilfred show cause as to why he should not show an accounting of his use of the property and why he and Elizabeth should not be placed into possession of their legacies in accordance with the will. Elizabeth attached a sworn detailed descriptive list of the estate to her petition.

         Wilfred filed an opposition to the petition for possession and rule to show cause on June 20, 2017, wherein he claimed that, in his capacity as co-legatee, he did not consent to the filing of the petition. He also claimed that he was continuing the operation of the farm as an unincorporated business that he had run with the decedent, in which they shared profits and losses equally. Wilfred further found discrepancies and inaccuracies in Elizabeth's sworn detailed descriptive list. He therefore filed a motion to traverse the sworn detailed descriptive list on October 4, 2017. As a result, Elizabeth filed an amended and supplemental sworn detailed descriptive list on October 31, 2017.

         After a hearing on the petition for possession and rule to show cause, the district court signed a judgment of possession on December 5, 2017, putting Wilfred and Elizabeth into undivided, equal shares of the estate, and terminating the succession. The judgment also stated that Wilfred and Elizabeth waived their rights to demand a final accounting. It is from this judgment that Wilfred has appealed.

         ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR

         Wilfred cites three assignments of error:

1. The district court erred as a matter of law in ordering an administered succession to possession at a contradictory hearing before homologation of a final tableau of distribution on the petition ...

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