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Undisputed will makes daughter’s appointment as special administrator improper

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Because the special administrator provision in the Indiana Code did not apply, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled the trial court did not abuse is discretion when it removed a special administrator of an estate without considering the state statute.

 Darla Brenton appealed her removal as special administrator of the estate of Evelyn Norfleet for the purpose of bringing a wrongful death action. Brenton asserted the trial court did not comply with I.C. Section 29-1-10-6 which details the conditions for the removal of personal representatives.

Brenton had petitioned to be appointed as special administrator for the sole purpose of collecting damages for wrongful death after her mother, Norfleet, was struck and killed by a motor vehicle. At the time the court granted her petition, Brenton did not inform the court that Norfleet had a will that named her son, Leslie Lutz, as the executor.

The COA affirmed the trial court’s order removing Brenton as special administrator in Darla M. Brenton, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Evelyn Norfleet, Deceased v. Leslie d. Lutz, 77A01-1302-ES-86.

The appeals court ruled since the parties never disputed that Norfleet’s will was validly executed, Brenton’s appointment as special administrator was not proper under I.C. 29-1-10-15. Consequently, without a valid appointment of the special administrator, there is no reason to seek removal under I.C. Section 29-1-10-6.  
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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