Now-deceased Rankin County Chancellor Dan Fairly sealed the estate of Thomas Bradshaw, Jr. Mississippi State University disputed the actions of conservator Murphy Adkins in the estate opened in 2013. The will was changed to award $1.6 million to Mr. Adkins. JJ would like to tell you when the estate was sealed. JJ would like to tell you the reasons cited by Judge Fairly for the sealing of the case. Hell, JJ would love to show you a copy of the protective order. However, there is literally no information available at the clerk's office other than the fact the file is sealed. JJ reported the details of the case on October 1, 2013:
Was former Rankin County Chancery Clerk Murphy Adkins the recipient of fortune's smile or did he take advantage of his position as conservator to obtain $1.6 million? Such is the question swirling around a will contested in Rankin County Chancery Court. Thomas Bradshaw, Jr. died on New Year's Eve, 2012. He outlived his wife and left behind no children. However, he did have an estate worth approximately $1.6 million. Mr. Bradshaw changed his will to make Mr. Adkins sole heir six months after he became the conservator for Mr. Bradshaw in 2009. The former beneficiaries objected in court. The case has not been resolved.
Mr. Bradshaw suffered from declining mental capacity in 2008. His best friend, Larry Bradley, filed a petition to establish a conservatorship for Mr. Bradshaw on November 5, 2008. The petition included a letter from Dr. Tammy Young declaring he suffered from polycythemia vera.* She stated "I have evaluated him and determined that due to his advanced Alzheimer's disease, he is incompetent in making his own decisions, including financial decisions." Attorney John McLaurin acted as guardian ad litem for Mr. Bradshaw during the proceedings. The court appointed Murphy Adkins as conservator on October 15, 2009. The order stated Mr. Bradshaw was "presently incapable of managing his own estate due to advanced age and mental and physical incapacity. Two doctors provided certificates to support the ruling.
Mr. Bradshaw executed a trust in 2007 and amended it in April 2008 to include a $1.598 million bequest to Mississippi State University, as well as lesser amounts to other people such as Larry Bradley. The court established the conservatorship six months later. However, only six months passed before Mr. Bradshaw changed his will again to leave everything to Murphy Adkins, the conservator handling his affairs. MSU, Bradley, even the family mutt, were left out in the cold under the new will.
I hereby give, devise, bequeath, and gift all of the property that I may own at the time of my death, whether real, personal, or mixed, wherever situated, sometimes referred to as my residuary estate to MURPHY ADKINS, my friend and conservator who has helped me greatly in the last years of my life. I understand that this gift may seem unusual.... Murphy Adkins has been a friend to me and cared for me. I have other friends who I would like to mention but I leave them no gift, devise, or bequeath in this Last Will and Testament. Larry Bradly, Don McLemore, Hal Parker, and others, have all been friends in my life and I thank them for their friendship but no gift, devise, or bequeath is made here in to themMr. Bradshaw died on New Year's Eve in 2012. Then the fun really got started.
Mr. Adkins filed a petition to probate the will on January 15, 2013 (p.24). He included a copy of the new will and supporting documents. Mississippi State and other beneficiaries in the earlier trusts filed an objection to the probate of the will on April 19, 2013. MSU accused Mr. Adkins of using undue influence over Mr. Bradshaw to enrich himself and breach his fiduciary duty to Thomas Bradshaw (p.41). The objection also states Mr. Bradshaw lacked the mental capacity to change his will as the court declared in the 2009 order establishing the conservatorship.
The battle continues in Rankin County Chancery Court before Judge Fairly.
March 28, 2007: Bradshaw executes a Trust.
April 29, 2008: Bradshaw amends trust. Leaves $100,000 to Bradley, $25,000 to Louise Wilson, $100,000 to dog, and $1.598 million to MSU.
November 15, 2008: Larry Bradley petitions for conservatorship
October 15, 2009: Court appoints Murphy Adkins as conservator
April 15, 2010: Bradshaw changes will and makes Adkins sole heir
December 31, 2012: Bradshaw dies
January 15, 2013: Adkins petitions court to probate will
April 19, 2013: MSU objects to probate of will
Rest of October 1, 2013 post.
Jerry Mitchell reported on this story as well.
Kingfish note: Here is the court file this correspondent copied back in 2013. JJ considers this file to be public record, and will make available to the public despite any future actions by the Rankin County Chancery Court. If the court wishes to hold this correspondent in contempt, this correspondent will freely admit to the contempt, for he has nothing but contempt for the court on this matter.
The fact remains there is no public accountability for the actions of this conservator. Attorney John McLaurin filed the petition for the establishment of the conservatorship and the nomination of Mr. Adkins as conservator. Mr. McLaurin also filed the petition seeking admission of the will to probate and appointment of Mr. Adkins as executor. Sources have informed this correspondent Mr. McLaurin is seeking the appointment to the Chancellorship formerly held by Judge Dan Fairly.