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Former Methodist Minister Waives Guardianship Rights Of Wife

October 2, 1987

DALLAS (AP) _ Walker Railey, a former prominent Methodist minister, has waived his right to handle the affairs of his comatose wife and asked a court to give guardianship rights to her mother, a newspaper reported today.

Papers filed in a Smith County court also indicate that Margaret ″Peggy″ Railey, 38, is not expected to recover from an attack last spring in which she was choked in her home, said the Dallas Morning News.

″She is mentally incompetent to care for herself or to manage her property and financial affairs,″ Dr. Irving Brown, medical director of the Tyler nursing facility where Mrs. Railey is, said in a sworn affidavit.

Railey said he found his wife lying on the floor when he arrived home early April 22 after studying at Southern Methodist University. He has not been charged in the attack, but has refused to meet with investigators since the day it happened. Police say their investigation is continuing.

Railey, the former senior pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Dallas, surrendered his credentials as an ordained Methodist minister last month.

He renounced his right to be appointed guardian in an affidavit attached to the petition in which his mother-in-law seeks guardianship, the Morning News said.

Two Dallas lawyers who specialize in probate matters said mother-in-law Billie Jo Nicolai’s request is unusual.

″I don’t think you’ll find anything in the law that says you can do what she’s trying to do - to take out guardianship over half of the community property,″ said Henry McFayden, a specialist in tax and probate matters and a senior lawyer with one of Dallas’ largest law firms.

Under Texas law, the proceeds of community property go to both spouses.

David D. Jackson, who presided over a Dallas County probate court for 13 years, said that the petition, if approved as written, could muddy the sale of jointly owned property.

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