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WILLS/TRUSTS 30: Bank cannot assert standing as a personal representative because the court held that it was not a successor co-personal representative.

Following the death of the decedent, B filed a petition in the probate court seeking intestate probate of the decedent’s estate and to be appointed the sole personal representative. Soon after, C Bank filed a petition in the probate court seeking to probate the decedent’s will and to be appointed co-personal representative of his estate.

Sole Personal Representative

The decedent’s will contain the following provision concerning who would serve as his personal representative: I nominate, constitute, and appoint B and N BANK as Co-Personal Representatives of this, my Last Will and Testament. If at any time either is unwilling or unable to act, then the other shall serve as sole Personal Representative

Following the execution of the will but prior to the decedent’s death, N Bank was acquired by C Bank. C Bank alleged that, as the corporate successor to N Bank, it was entitled to serve as co-personal representative. It submitted that state banking rules permitted the substitution. However, B asserted that she was entitled to serve as the sole personal representative because N Bank no longer existed, and the will did not provide for a successor to substitute for N Bank.


C Bank alleged that there was a reason for the bank to serve in the role of co-personal representative because, as a fiduciary, it would ensure accountability and professionalism. On the contrary, B’s counsel claimed that, as the personal representative, she had secured the decedent’s property and sold it and would ensure that the stepchildren receive their share of the trust.

Following the hearing, the court entered an order appointing B as sole personal representative. The court stated that the will contained no language indicating the ‘successors and assigns’ of N Bank would act as Personal Representative if N Bank was unable to act.

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FAMILY LAW 77: Court awarded plaintiff sole legal custody; defendant was unwilling to work with plaintiff.

For joint custody to work, parents must be able to agree with each other on basic issues in child rearing including health care, religion, education, day to day decision making and discipline and they must be willing to cooperate with each other in joint decision making. If two equally capable parents are unable to cooperate and to agree generally concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of their children, the court has no alternative but to determine which parent shall have sole custody of the children.

CRIMINAL 19: Sentencing guidelines are advisory.

The sentencing guidelines are advisory, and although a trial court must determine the applicable guidelines range and take it into account when imposing a sentence, the court is not required to sentence a defendant within that range.

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