CT Appellate Court Reverses Judgment Regarding Modification of Distribution of Estate

Silverstein v. Laschever, 113 Conn. App. 404, 970 A.2d 123 (2009)

The plaintiff, Morris Silverstein, appealed a Superior Court judgment upholding a Probate Court order confirming that mortgages be placed on land that is part of the Estate of Esther S. Silverstein (“Estate”). The order also allowed fees to be charged to the Estate.  The plaintiff claimed that the order to place mortgages on the Estate property was improper and that the fees charged to the Estate were the administrator’s personal obligations. The CT Appellate Court found that the Probate Court’s previous order for property distribution made eleven years before the order allowing for the mortgaging of the property had terminated the Estate. 

Therefore, the Probate Court did not have the authority to set aside, modify or revoke the previous order. The previous order, affirmed on appeal, bound the parties pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 45a-24.  The Probate Court could not modify its previous order that distributed the proceeds of the Estate to the heirs. 

A supplemental accounting did not give the Probate Court the authority to issue additional orders after the previous order of distribution, a final order.  Likewise, the fact that the administrator did not comply with the distribution order and failed to distribute the property did not cause the property to remain part of the Estate.  Accordingly, an order to mortgage the property was not proper.  As a result, the Appellate Court reversed the judgment and the case was remanded with direction to render judgment to the plaintiff.