The Georgia Supreme Court handed down the probate case of Myers, Executor v. Myers, today.
In some ways, the case is an unremarkable example of an executor using an estate as a cash cow for his personal expenditures and, among other things, granting himself
$53,000 in executor's fees while so doing.
The case books are littered with such fact patterns. Perhaps the most important take-away from Myers is the holding that an executor may not continue to run a single-member-LLC business in the estate, when that LLC's operating agreement calls for its dissolution upon the death of a member.
This is particularly useful information for the estate practitioner, because nearly all form operating agreement forms call for exactly this. Yet, it is common enough for an executor to continue to run and fund an estate business for months after a decedent's death. According to the Supreme Court today, so doing may be grounds for the executor's removal.
Full text of the opinion follows after the "read more" break.
92-year-old Kathryn Johnson
Most wills contain standard language requiring executors to pay charitable pledges "whether enforceable or not" out of the estate before any amounts are paid to heirs.
In August of last year, the Rev. Markel Hutchins strained the "enforceable or not" language farther than it was ever intended to go by suing the estate of Kathryn Johnson, the 92-year-old notoriously shot to death by police return-fire in a mistaken drug raid.
Johnson's estate famously won a settlement against the City of Atlanta in the amount of $4.9 million for, among other things, her wrongful death in the raid.
Hutchins is suing for $490,000, which represents a "tithe" from the $4.9 million estate, reports AtLaw. The tithe is owed him, Hutchins has said in pleadings because of his role as "principal strategist and issue manager; public relations expert; crisis intervention and crisis management expert; investigator; project manager; government relations expert; and other duties as requested by the Defendants and those acting in concert with them."
The case is presently before the Georgia Court of Appeals on interlocutory appeal from an early trial court ruling.
In addition to this publication, Tanner Pittman, LLC can also be found at the attorney search and evaluation website Avvo.com.
In particular, we recently published a legal guide on the topic of administering uncontested estates in Georgia. Continue checking Avvo for forthcoming legal guides from this firm.
Tanner Pittman, LLC is a West Georgia law firm that specializes in estate services, civil litigation, and legal transactions.
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