Last week, reasons for judgement were released in the case Browne v. Brown Estate.
In this case, the deceased died in 2010. Under the Will, the named Executrix (known under the new legislation as the Personal Representative) is a daughter, and the alternate named Executor is the deceased’s son. The son applied to have the daughter removed as Executrix and replaced by him.
The daughter took several steps after the deceased’s death which the son objected to. For example, the daughter was given Power of Attorney by the deceased some years earlier, and used it in 2011, a year after the deceased died, to sell the deceased’s residence (the only real asset of the Estate).
The sale proceeds were then placed into the daughter’s own bank account. Some of the Executrix’s personal debts were apparently paid with the funds as well. The Executrix also failed to apply for Probate of the Will.
The son argued that the daughter was in conflict, and therefore should not be acting as an Executrix. The Court agreed, and ordered that the son be appointed sole Executor in the daughter’s place.
Under Section 30 of the Power of Attorney Act, a Power of Attorney is ineffective once the person granting it dies.
In my view, the Executrix should not have used the Power of Attorney a year after the deceased died to sell the house. (Also, in my opinion, the sale proceeds should have been placed in an Estate account, rather than a personal account.)
This ad ran in the Richmond Review on April 25, 2014.