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Court did not abuse discretion in refusing to allow expert's telephonic testimony and denying adjournment

The court concluded that the probate court did not abuse its discretion in not allowing the respondent's forensic accountant (M) to testify by phone at a hearing, or by denying respondent's request for an adjournment. It also rejected respondent's claim that the probate court violated her due process rights in ordering that $30,000 be withheld from her share of the trust to pay for future expenses incurred by the trustee after the distribution. Thus, the court affirmed the probate court's order allowing the final account for the trust. The court concluded that the record showed M "was not prepared to testify at the December hearing regarding the trust's financial records." Despite being hired in October, M did not speak with petitioner or the trust accountant, B, until the day before the motion hearing. B testified that M "called in the afternoon of the previous day and requested 'reports of general ledger, an income statement, and a balance sheet.'" Respondent's counsel indicated that M had not received a general ledger or "a list of the check numbers and who they were to for the last accounting period." Thus, even if M had testified, it was unclear what the content of her testimony would have been. Respondent presented no evidence indicating that M's testimony would have supported her claim before the probate court for reconsideration of its order. "The probate court had the authority to manage the presentation of witnesses, MRE 611, and noted that the procedures for requesting telephonic testimony were not followed." Also, the record reflected that M's testimony "likely would have been irrelevant or outweighed by considerations of unfair prejudice and undue delay, as she apparently had only begun her forensic accounting review the previous day, despite the lapse of two and one-half months between the probate court's order granting a forensic accounting and the motion hearing." Further, the court found that under the circumstances, "the probate court could conclude that respondent did not move for an adjournment 'as soon as possible after ascertaining the facts' nor made diligent efforts to produce the witness through telephonic testimony." In addition, respondent could not show that she was prejudiced by the probate court's decision - she could only speculate that M "would have found something in the trust's financial records to substantiate her claim that reconsideration was warranted either due to newly discovered evidence or fraud, misrepresentation, and adverse conduct on the part of petitioner."

Antenuptial agreement held to be valid and enforceable

The court held that the parties' antenuptial agreement was valid and enforceable, concluding that to invalidate it on the basis of one party's fault would contravene the agreement's clear and unambiguous language, and that as a matter of law, the...

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