More Than 30 Years Of Serving The St. Louis Metro Area

Family at odds over special administrator appointment

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2018 | Estate Planning

The rules and regulations governing estate administration in Saint Charles can be mind-numbingly complex. Oftentimes, it may be difficult to even find two different legal professionals who see eye-to-eye on the same statute. It is for this very reason that litigation is often a constant companion with estate cases. Even extensive estate planning prior to one’s death may not be enough to avoid a dispute. 

This fact has been on full display in the ongoing dispute over the management of the estate of the children of an Indiana couple killed in a car accident. While extended family members were made guardians of the children, the father’s own father was appointed as a special administrator of his estate in order to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit (presumably to benefit the kids’ future). However, the guardians and other family members argued that they should also be appointed as co-special guardians. 

The court that initially heard the case agreed, prompting the deceased’s father to appeal the case on the grounds that a change in special administrators was warranted, the statutory process mandated by state law should have been followed. The appellate court disagreed, however, saying that the change was not a removal but rather a reconsideration. The case is now headed to the state’s Supreme Court, where the deceased’s father is expected to argue that his appointment was not subject to reconsideration. 

While no amount of planning might have been able to avoid this particular dispute, this case should not override the fact that detailing the disposition of one’s assets through proper estate planning documents is a prudent process that can help avoid future disputes. Those needing assistance with this process may find it in the form of an experienced estate planning attorney.