Oh, By The Way

So five sisters, four surviving. Dad dies, and one daughter, Sandy, announces to her sisters: “and by the way Dad owed me $1.5 million dollars for taking care of him all these years.”

Nice.

The case is called In Re Schwein Estate. Click on the name to read it.

Short story: Sandy also happened to be personal representative of the estate. The law imposes certain requirements on the way a personal representative must assert a claim.  Sandy failed to follow those rules.  The trial court, for whatever reason, went to great lengths to allow Sandy’s claim notwithstanding these procedural defects.  The Court of Appeals reversed.

I bring this case to your attention because (1) it’s a published opinion, (2) it offers a good discussion of the law that applies when a personal representative makes a claim against the estate, and (3) a somewhat less thorough discussion of post-death claims for caregiving services provided to the deceased while he was alive.

It is also worth noting that while Court of Appeals opinions are almost always delivered with no emotion, the panel in this case gets a little snarky in the way it corrects the trial judge. For instance, if you ever happen to find youself in need of legal authority for the proposition that “statutes should be construed to avoid absurd results,” this is your case.