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Man had 3 months to bring claim to enforce contract, court rules

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A son who sought to challenge his stepmother’s decision to revoke the will she made with his father had to bring his challenge within three months of the will being admitted to probate, not nine months as he claimed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

David Markey was the only child of John and Betty Markey. When his mother died, her assets went to her husband. He later married Frances Markey, and they executed a contract in 1998 to make mutual wills. Half of their estate would go to Frances Markey’s granddaughter, the other half would go to David Markey. The contract also said the wills would not be revoked, and if they were, David Markey could bring an action at law or in equity seeking performance. Frances’ adult children, Stephen Routson and Madonna Reda, were not aware of this contract.

After John Markey died, Frances Markey inherited all of his assets and then revoked her will. She died in July 2012 and her estate was opened in August 2012. David Markey, who claimed he didn’t learn she had died until April 2013, brought his action to enforce the terms of the contract that month – eight months after the will was admitted to probate.

Reda argued that the action was time barred because it was filed more than three months after the will was admitted to probate; David Markey argued that he had timely filed his action within nine months of Frances Markey’s death because he was a “reasonably ascertainable creditor” under I.C. 29-1-7-7(d)(2).

The trial court, citing Kennan v. Butler, 869 N.E. 2d 1284 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), ruled the action to enforce a contract to make a will was not a “claim” under I.C. 29-1-14-1 of the Probate Code. It pointed to a footnote in the ruling that said “for timely administration of an estate, a breach of contract to make a will action should be similarly limited. Where the action is challenging the distribution pursuant to a probated will, the petition must be filed within three months of the order admitting the will to probate.”

In David J. Markey v. Estate of Frances S. Markey, Deceased; Stephen L. Routson, Personal Representative under the Last Will and Testament of Frances S. Markey, Deceased; Stephen L. Routson, et al., the COA agreed that the footnote in Keenan is directly applicable in a case such as David Markey’s, so it correctly determined that the three-month limitation period for such actions suggested in the footnote applies to David Markey’s action.

The judges rejected his claim that the three-month limitation period for will contest actions would violate his due process rights.

 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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