In re the Estate of Sheldon Beren, deceased; Bev Beren, Zev Beren, Jonathan Beren, and Daniel Beren v. Robert Goodyear as Personal Representative, Miriam Beren, and Joshua Beren, Dena Beren Grossman, and the Estate of Cheryl Beren Feldberger, 2012COA203 (November 21, 2012)

A complicated life can mean a complicated death. Beren died testate in 1996, leaving his first wife and their 4 sons, a second wife (Wife), her two sons (which he adopted) and their biological child. Wife took an elective share in lieu of taking under the will. The probate court awarded Wife an equitable adjustment to her elective share, due to appreciation during the long probate, and approved the personal rep’s final distribution plan creating 2 classes of stock in Beren’s company. The court of appeals, addressing these and other issues, held CRS 15-11-201 does not permit equitable adjustments to elective shares; they are a set dollar amount calculated on the date of death. Also, the 2 classes of stock did not provide each child with an equal share of the estate. The court otherwise affirmed the probate court’s order, including compensation of over $17 million to the representative.

http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Court_Of_Appeals/Opinion/2012/10CA2120-PD.pdf

http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=8753&courtid=1

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2 Comments

Filed under Appellate Review Challenged

2 responses to “In re the Estate of Sheldon Beren, deceased; Bev Beren, Zev Beren, Jonathan Beren, and Daniel Beren v. Robert Goodyear as Personal Representative, Miriam Beren, and Joshua Beren, Dena Beren Grossman, and the Estate of Cheryl Beren Feldberger, 2012COA203 (November 21, 2012)

  1. Among the other issues addressed by the court of appeals were: 1) the probate court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to recuse herself after referring a single motion to a senior judge; 2) the court of appeals refused to consider a claim that David Beren’s $1,000,000 bequest was subject to contribution liabilities because it was not properly brought to the probate court’s attention; 3) the probate court properly concluded that estate taxes were not allocable, directly or indirectly, to Wife’s elective share; 4) the probate court did not err in approving the allocation of overhead expenses and the representative’s compensation between the estate and the corporation; 5) corporate litigation expenses from litigation with the 4 sons were properly borne by the corporation and not the estate; 6) distributions from a limited liability partnership were not debts but rather irrevocable gifts not subject to a later amendment claiming they represented a debt of the partnership; 7) the presumption that transfers of property to the 4 brothers were gifts and not loans was not rebutted; 8) certain oil and gas interests were properly transferred to the 4 brothers pursuant to the personal representatives discretion to distribute the estate in the nature of a compromise; and 9) the transfer of other oil interests to the partnership by the personal representative was an improper delegation of the probate’s court authority to decide and enforce unambiguous conveyances. Disclaimer – I do not practice probate law, and I cannot pretend I understand these rulings. If this summary is incorrect, please leave a comment below.

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  2. Pingback: Moye White LLP v. David I. Beren, 2013 COA 89 (June 6, 2013) | Colorado Litigation Report ™

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