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While La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 2239 is sufficiently broad to permit a forced heir to establish by parol that an instrument that purports on its face to be an absolute sale of real property, by his ancestor, is in fact not a sale, but instead is a mortgage, yet the article has no application in a case where the forced heir joins in the act as a vendor with the ancestor. While the purpose of the article, as amended, is to protect forced heirs by giving them rights not granted to other heirs, yet the purpose is not to protect them to the extent of permitting them to attack acts by parol evidence to which they, themselves, are parties, merely because an ancestor from whom they inherit was also a party to the act.
The conveyor and his daughter sold a tract of land to the conveyee. However, the conveyor's son also owned an interest in the tract of land. On the same day, the conveyee executed a promissory note to the conveyor. When the son died, the conveyee obtained a quitclaim deed from the son's children. The conveyor died, leaving the daughter and his son's children as his heirs. The conveyor's heirs wrote a letter attempting to exercise an option to force the conveyee's heirs to reconvey the property to the conveyor's heirs. Failing to receive a reply to the foregoing communication, the conveyor’s heirs instituted the present suit. The district court ruled in favor of the conveyee’s heirs. The conveyor’s heirs challenged the decision.
Under the circumstances, should the conveyee’s heirs reconvey the property to the conveyor’s heirs?
The court affirmed the lower court’s decision, noting that under La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 2236, 2275, and 2276, parol evidence was inadmissible to prove that the agreement between the conveyor and the conveyee included a right of redemption. While La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 2239 was sufficiently broad to permit a forced heir to establish by parole that an instrument was not a sale, but instead a mortgage, the article had no application in a case where the forced heir joined in the act as a vendor with the ancestor. The agreement between the conveyor and the conveyee did not contain a right of redemption. Any rights outside of the conveyance were personal to the conveyor and could not be exercised by his heirs.