In re Estate of Parker – Case Brief Summary (Arizona)

In In re Estate of Parker, 217 Ariz. 563, 177 P.3d 305 (App. 2008), decedent Warren Parker established a trust consisting of "his sole and separate property" for his two adult children from a previous marriage. Id. at 564, P 2, 177 P.3d at 306.

At the same time, his wife signed a disclaimer deed which stated she had no past or present interest in or right to the trust property. Id.

Parker later removed the property from the trust and returned it to himself. Id. at PP 4-5. Under his will, any separate property would pass to the trust. Id. at P 3.

After Parker's death, his wife filed an Affidavit for Transfer of Title to Real Property, stating that he died intestate and she was the sole successor to the property. Id. at 564-65, P 5, 177 P.3d at 306-07.

She transferred the deed of trust to Choice Investments, L.L.C. ("Choice") and Choice later deeded the property to Dometri Investments, L.L.C. ("Dometri"). Id. at 565, P 6, 177 P.3d at 307.

Parker's adult daughter (one of the trust beneficiaries) objected to the transfer in court and Dometri filed an action to quiet title. Id. at PP 7-8.

Both parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment and the trial court granted Dometri's motion and awarded its attorneys' fees and costs. Id. at PP 9-10.

The Court affirmed, holding that the subsequent purchaser, Dometri, was statutorily relieved of liability to the estate because the daughter made no claims that implicated wrongdoing by Choice or Dometri in the procurement or conveyance of property.

The Court said:

Given the plain, clear wording of A.R.S. §§ 14-3972(C), 14-3910, and 14-1106, a purchaser of real property relying upon an affidavit of succession is protected from subsequent claims by heirs or devisees who would otherwise have a superior right to the property, even if the affidavit of succession includes false or inaccurate information. Thus, because Lind did not raise a genuine issue of material fact that implicated Dometri in any fraud below or during oral argument, summary judgment in favor of Dometri was proper. While Lind may have some recourse against Mrs. Parker or others for any alleged fraud or other wrongdoing, Dometri is statutorily relieved of any liability to the estate.Id. at 567-68, P 22, 177 P.3d at 309-10.