Connecticut Appellate Court finds that Misappropriated Funds should not be part of Probate Estate
Przekopski v. Przekop, 124 Conn. App. 238, 4 A. 3d 844 (2010)
The defendants, a sister, individually and as the executrix of her father’s estate, appealed from the judgment of the Superior Court, which upon a de novo appeal of a Probate Court order, denied a motion for rectification or for a corrected judgment, and ordered that the bank accounts misappropriated by the plaintiff brother be returned to the father’s estate for distribution.
The Appellate Court concluded that the Probate Court ordered the proper remedy and that it was improper for the Superior Court to order the transfer of the misappropriated funds from the plaintiff to the estate, instead of directly to the defendant, individually. The decedent used the survivorship accounts as a method of estate planning and he intended for the accounts to pass immediately to the defendant, individually, upon his death and not to be the subject of probate.
The Appellate Court recognized the decedent’s intent and wanted to ensure that the plaintiff did not profit from his abuse of the power of attorney that he utilized to substitute his name for the defendant’s individual name on certain bank accounts containing the funds. The plaintiff did not engage in fair dealing in transferring certain bank accounts to himself under the power of attorney and abused his position of trust. The power of attorney did not authorize the plaintiff to change the name of the survivor on the accounts.
Because the plaintiff was a beneficiary under his father’s will and stood to inherit some of the funds if they were distributed pursuant to the will, it was error for the Superior Court to order the return of the funds to the estate. The Appellate Court reversed the judgment only as to the order that the plaintiff transfer to the decedent’s estate all of the misappropriated funds. The case was remanded with direction to order those funds, with the exception of the sum of $ 11,000, returned to the defendant, individually.
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