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Brown Vs. ...

Brown Vs. ... image
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The f ollowing opinión is ofsogi importanee not only to the partjes interested n the case bul lo a!l administrators of estáte orwhomaj 1 rcome so, ■ac deern it well worthy of the apace it occupies. Il will be obserred the supreme court afflifns the decisión of Judge Harriman which wasreversed in pin uil coutt. ft is taken, from the Lan ing Republican, and fendered by ADMIXISTEATOBS- LIABÍLITT OF. Jacoli RrRun, administrator, vfl.ïgnatz Forsohe. Error to Wasliteimw. ROrpTsod. r. Cramer, atorne forplaintiff. fBea1?PS& Cutctipon, of counsel, Mlllard K i'ean. for defendant.] John Milier, a residentoí Washtenaw pounty.dicdii-.testate ov.7. 1872, leaviii"- a widow and children, and real and personal eaiate to hv administered. Vpril 8, 1873. on petition of one of the children,and after due pobliwition of notice, Jacob Braun. thoplnintiff in '-v ror, was dulj appointetl adminiatrator on che éstate of sail intestate. and took npon himsalf tlie trust. On the sanie day copnmissioners were appointed by thejndgcof probate tp examine and adjust the claims nnrainst the estáte, ïlic comnjissioners took the oath reqniredbylaw, and gave the requisite tiotico for tho prpsentatión of claims, and on.Iuly.11, 1874, lilfd tbcir report in prolMrte court shawlng the allowance by thcm ofelaimstó theainountof $3-50 andnomore. The estáte was dulj inventoried by the administrator, and was appraiscd aa follows: Real óslate 822,100, personal estáte $2,158. The real ostate appears to have been subject to vcry large ineumbrances. Aftcr the time for presentation of claims to the c.omHiissioners expired the atlminiRt ratnr, liavini; no knowlcdce or noticoof fnrther dcmands. allowed the wiilow and ehildri n ■!' said intestate to take possewipn and dispose of the is'it'is boloncinic to tlie estáte, and before ilu' DroceCilings lieveinaftor raentioned iiad be '; boiiiin. The wholo of sucli as■ i !■: havcbCCIl ex!:;' usted b tl ie widow ;in 1 the children, Uio paymént of the nlaims, and inthcir ovm siijiport. rr!iu administrator, liowever. had ñlednoaccoiwit, and tairen m stops to be dischargPil frornhistrusf.iinw] Dec5, 1876, whon 1m appii:d to the probate court for t)ie sottli moni oí his final aoeóunt, and Jan. n, followinK waa assigned by n - foini for a hearing thereon. T)ie day brfore tíiis hcainc; was to lalce place IgT'atz Forscbe presented to the probate cohrt his potition, :;( tting Portli t'i;i he liii'l n claim of$7"O PRainsi said estáte, and nravinp t; ai the ( otnüiirsion bc ri", iv-ed for the pjirpose of hearing it, (irthat insteitcl thevoof 1 be allowed by tlo iudpje of probaie. Thisprayer wns rloi 'uy by the probate court, bul on apnoal to tl io eiiviiii cour! the claim of forscl e was hearcl aiul allowed at the sum of S0i2.T"i, witli SOó.10 costs, X proeccdings were had for the w?ttlrmont oftho aíhniiu.strator'a accouni on Jan. 9, 1877, the day fixed Por hearing thrrcon, nul on May 29, 1878, the probato coiirt marto mn"nlei Ihai rtappcar('.1 froDi the nvfntory tha1 tl('pcrsonal rty of the i -t;ii.' ammmlon to í;l'.ls. and that the claiuis iillowcd wore S.:;17.,')5. and í'1 '-i :!i)." the Irator wa-; direct od to pay said claims wilhin ÍXMnys. As all tiie claims ex■■; ir ' i ■ - . OL'n l'l'i V:Ollsl iaiil, t'iis orrtor wouid ivply to claim only. The aOmtnii Lra1or appwvl(-1 f mm Ihe order tothocimiit coufl,assi.."iiiv; I fOBSOns foi1 tlio appcal, tho One cliiil';. rclird upon lK'illg' lliat Ilifire v'.is no propcrty or nionpylieloii.crbjt to tliö c$tato from wliieli the Forcliu ulaim eould be paid. Tn llio circtwi (h1 adminlstrator was hgld io Itave (henfiinnutiveoftite isne. and;i trial proceeded after ilic usual coursc' of common-law snits. 'J'iie cixcirtt aflirmed Üie oider oí tho probate couvt. Tl f administrator thorcupoii biouarii) error. 1. sfotion was made to dismiss tlie writ of error on the grbiind tlial ccrtiorari was the proper reniedy. We tliink i'ly Uert. 2. 'i ■ pon i merits rentrea ;■ i arelul pxainiuntion !' Hip atatutory provisions respoethig Llie aetüemeiit of cars thai lontliefore Porsclie, pre e'itcd liis elaiin, or nolified tïic admini trator tlial ho had one. the time liad 'loi onlj expired foi the proseiitalion of claim ;to lite ("oniinii? !ioners,bitt fiTr Hip settlemeni o:1 Ihe estáte also. ■■■ parly a-, O t, S. 1874, fho ailministfator shoidd have paid off all the claims allowed a'4'aiivjl the esiate.nnd deliverC'l ih.r üMiviiiiii!" :".!■!,-, to the widow ai'.-. I iiexi ol km, and obtajnod Ins discharge, iíad he done -uil is riot pretended thal un elaira coxñá afterwards havo. been mndc tgainst htm by reason of a debí onving1 by íbe estáte, bul nol nntil aftenvarnfi prr entfdr.nd allowed. 7 1 the eroditor eould have had any remecí in sui h i case lie must find' it in following he iropert uto tlie hands of the distributees. From i lie statement of facls nnd law the followinft conclusión s are drawn: 1. Thai as earlj as Oet. 8, 1874, when all Lhe claims a.aramsi Ihe esiaie had heen paid, the widow nnd ehiltferen of Miilerwere entitled to liavp the residue oftheestalo delivered ovei' to them as their mvii property uutler law, and It as the ihiiyof lic rdministratór to rccognisie ibis righl ard surrender to thcm lhe projerty ondemand. 2. If the administrator had faile'1 ín observe Ibis duty the widow and mighi liave applied to the probate cour! Por nn order of distrlBntion, and ni a Bhowing thal the allowed claims werepaidtliey would have been entitled, as of right, to hare had this order mad. [ƒ the ndministrator had met theiraplilii ilion b showingto tlie coiu-i Lhat had personal claims for services and expenses, assets sufflcient to meet (hese claims might havobeen lef tin his hands until the settlement of bis coste, luit he eould have askerf, and the couit would have srranted nothing more. .".. When the admüiistrator, Lnstead of being forced into ar tion by Buch an order, vobmtarily delivered tïie propertyoverto the persons entitled, he only recognized n legal duty, and performed it without waiting to have, it prescribed in a legal proceerling. JTe yielded to that which was maller of strict right; tothat againsi which he had no power of legal resistance, and in respect to which he would have been culpable on legal as wel] as moral groünds had he attempted to resist. An order of the court making an assienment and distribution mighi have been desirable to him, hut thè Imporiance of sufcb an order is not very obvioaa. A probate case, oü appeal, is to be 1 1 ied and detenmned on the same principies that would be adnainistered by róbate court iUelf. That eourt, in adjusi wcounts 'f aiiministrators, is governed by broad principies of equity; and t is at all times competent tor the adminïRrator, unimpeded by technieal rules, to show the fairness of .his dealings, the real nature of his transaotions, and to restrict the amount for which he should be held liable to that which equity demanda. Upon any other rule he might be made tobearthe burden of events for which he was inno degree responsible, and when lie was actiiip: in the most conscientious diacharge of duty. In this case the defendant in error delayed the presentation of hisclaim until the admimstrator had in good failh administered fully, ar-d until aothing remained to be done butthe final accounting. The fact that he was afterwards pennitted to prove hisclaim is evidence that be bad fully erplained the delay, hut the fact that he was not himself in fault can establish no equity in his favor lo charge the cons quences of il k-s delay upon the administrator. The administrator assuming, as hehad a right todo, that no further claims existed, bad merelj performed his duty in recognizing therightsqf the widow and children, and the law wil] ]rotect him in makLng the vohintary distribution of the estáte, which, under the circumstances, the law would lia'e compelled. Judgnient reversed with costs of all courls. Cut off the initial "J," and we have Ames A. (Jarfield.


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