Outsmarting One’s Self

November 3, 2016 § 2 Comments

Sometimes it just seems smart to skip spending the money on lawyers and to represent one’s self. Sometimes it doesn’t seem quite so smart

Take the case of Walter Poole. He had been appointed administrator of the estate of his sister, Vera. Michael Walton, another of Vera’s heirs, filed a motion to remove Poole as administrator. At the hearing, Poole said he had no objection to removal or to Walton’s appointment. The chancellor did what any rational human being would have done and removed Poole, replacing him with Walton.

For some reason not easily discernible, Poole appealed. His appeal was pro se, by the way. He assigned three errors: (1) that the chancellor erred in removing him as administrator; (2) that the chancellor failed to make adequate findings of fact; and (3) that the chancellor erred in refusing to hear evidence as to Vera’s wishes for disposition of her property and appointment of Walton.

In Poole v. Walton, decided October 11, 2016, the COA (predictably) affirmed. In an opinion that was mercifully succinct and not unnecessarily erudite, Judge Lee wrapped up the rationale:

 I. Removal of Poole as Administrator

¶6. Poole contends that he should not have been removed as administrator of Vera’s
estate. However, Poole stated during the hearing that he had no objection to either his
removal as administrator of Vera’s estate or the appointment of Walton as administrator. This issue is without merit.

II. Findings of Fact

III. Other Evidence

¶7. In his other issues, Poole asserts that the chancellor should have allowed him to
submit evidence of “Vera’s true intent” regarding her property and the appointment of an administrator over her estate. Poole implies that Vera had a will but that it was destroyed or withheld by Walton. But Poole admitted during the hearing that he had no proof to support his allegations. We find no merit to Poole’s remaining issues.

Not much there for the scholars to chew on. But for the rest of us, it’s mercifully brief and to the point. Judge Lee didn’t have a lot to say about it. And neither shall I.

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