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Appeals court sides with snubbed relative in estate case

December 29, 2011

The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a probate court’s conclusion that a deceased woman’s son lacks standing to contest a settlement agreement.

In In the Matter of the Supervised Estate of Leah Yeley, Deceased; Larry Yeley v. Timothy Purdom, as Personal Rep. of the Estate of Leah Yeley, No. 27A02-1103-ES-456, Larry Yeley, son of the late Leah Yeley, appealed the probate court’s imposition on him of a settlement agreement reached by his siblings that he did not sign. The appeals court held that such an action is in contravention of the compromise statute requiring a signature for each competent person having an interest or claim which will or may be affected by the compromise. But Larry Yeley’s siblings claim he did not have an interest in his mother’s estate, as he had already been given the maximum allowed under her two distinct and contested wills.

The appeals court held that the settlement agreement the siblings reached was not in itself an agreement to the terms of either will, but rather an agreement to independent division of the estate.  

The appellate court disagreed with the probate court that Larry Yeley’s interests were represented by a fiduciary, stating that Larry Yeley – not a representative on his behalf – appeared for court-ordered mediation.

The COA remanded the case for proceedings consistent with its opinion.

 

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