ILNews

Nephews' appeal over estate dispute dismissed

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Even though the trial court said its order regarding a petition to set aside a family settlement agreement was final and appealable, it was not, so the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal sua sponte.

Mark and David Shuler, co-personal representatives of the estate of Ruby Shuler Blankenbaker Botkins and nephews of Botkins, appealed the denial of their motion to set aside a family settlement agreement they entered into with Botkins’ surviving husband after Botkins’ death. The agreement said the Shulers would act as co-representatives of the estate and administer it in a manner that follows the directives of a will Botkins created in 1992.

Several months later, while the estate was still open, the Shulers found another will executed by Botkins in 1987. They filed a petition to set aside the agreement and admit the 1987 will to probate, but the husband objected. The Shulers sought interlocutory appeal, which the COA denied, and then asked the trial court to make its April 12, 2011, denial of their petition a final judgment. The trial court entered the purported final order on Sept. 2.

 In In Re the Estate of Ruby Shuler Blankenbaker Botkins, Deceased; Mark Allen Shuler and David Lee Shuler, co-personal representatives v. Estate of George Botkins and Larry Botkins, personal rep., No. 22A05-1109-ES-481, the COA dismissed, finding the trial court’s order didn’t comply with Trial Rule 54(B). In addition, orders issued by a probate court aren’t final until the estate is closed. The order from which the Shulers appeal is also not an appealable interlocutory order, so the appellate court ruled it does not have subject matter jurisdiction to rule on the appeal.

 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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