U-Turn in a Temporary Administrator Case

March 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

I posted here previously about how and why the chancery court may appoint a temporary administrator in a contested estate case. The post dealt with the case of Parker v. Benoist, decided in August, 2014, which is notable for establishing the good faith exception to challenges to in terrorem clauses in wills.

In its 2014 decision, the MSSC affirmed the chancellor’s refusal to appoint a temporary administrator, even though the court was troubled by the chancellor’s statement that he believed uncontested evidence was necessary to support removal of the executor and appointment of a temporary administrator. I said about the appellate decision, “To put it in simpler terms: even though the chancellor followed the wrong road map, he arrived at the right destination, so no reversal.”

The MSSC granted rehearing, and in an opinion rendered February 19, 2015, withdrew its original opinion and substituted a new opinion reversing the chancellor’s decision and remanding on the basis that he applied a wrong legal standard in refusing to appoint a temporary administrator.

So, I withdraw my prior statement and substitute the following: “To put it in simpler terms: the chancellor followed the wrong road map, and even though he may have arrived at the right destination, the case is reversed and remanded so he can follow the correct road map.”

The 2015 opinion does not affect the court’s original ruling about in terrorem clauses.

 

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