Beecher Estate, Re, 2015 SKQB 19

Judge:Barrington-Foote, J.
Court:Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan
Case Date:January 19, 2015
Jurisdiction:Saskatchewan
Citations:2015 SKQB 19;(2015), 468 Sask.R. 1 (QB)
 
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Beecher Estate, Re (2015), 468 Sask.R. 1 (QB)

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2015] Sask.R. TBEd. JA.055

In The Matter Of the Estate of Clarence Amel Beecher

(1978 SUR No. 8223; 2015 SKQB 19)

Indexed As: Beecher Estate, Re

Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench

Judicial Centre of Regina

Barrington-Foote, J.

January 19, 2015.

Summary:

The testator died in 1978. His widow and the applicant were co-executors under the will until the widow's death in 2013. On his application to determine his fees and wind up the estate, the applicant sought fees of $30,000 (approximately 3% of the current value of the remaining assets in the estate) and certain legal fees and disbursements.

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench held that $12,500 was a reasonable allowance for the applicant. In addition, he was entitled to recover legal fees of $3,000; $504.30 paid to Royal Reporting; and $500 in expenses for estate litigation. The applicant was awarded costs of the application of $1,500, payable from the estate.

Executors and Administrators - Topic 6405

Accounts and passing of accounts - Particular accounts - Legal fees - The testator died in 1978 - His widow and the applicant were co-executors under the will until the widow's death in 2013 - On his application to determine his fees and wind up the estate, the applicant sought, inter alia, certain legal fees and disbursements - The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench stated, "[I]t is my view that the executor is entitled to recover the legal fees he incurred to defend his right to be, and the testator's choice that he should be, a co-executor of this estate. Further, the time he reasonably spent defending his position, and dealing with [the co-executor's] efforts to have him removed, can properly be considered time and effort reasonably spent on estate administration." - See paragraph 18.

Executors and Administrators - Topic 6405

Accounts and passing of accounts - Particular accounts - Legal fees - The testator died in 1978 - His widow and the applicant were co-executors under the will until the widow's death in 2013 - On his application to determine his fees and wind up the estate, the applicant sought, inter alia, certain legal fees and disbursements - The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench stated, "I am ... unable to conclude that the legal fees paid to MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman were necessary and proper charges for the purpose of estate administration. The fact that [the widow] always wanted to have title to the lands, despite the fact that the will limited her to a life estate, does not mean that the executor was entitled to incur legal fees at the expense of the beneficiaries in an attempt to achieve that result. Further, and as noted, the accounts from MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman do not contain sufficient information to support the conclusion that the services provided were necessary to administer the estate in accordance with the will, or to deal with issues arising in the course of that administration that needed to be solved." - See paragraph 19.

Executors and Administrators - Topic 7251

Compensation - Amount of compensation - Relevant considerations in fixing amount - [See Executors and Administrators - Topic 7260 ].

Executors and Administrators - Topic 7260

Compensation - Amount of compensation - Fair and reasonable allowance - The testator died in 1978 - His widow and the applicant were co-executors under the will until the widow's death in 2013 - On his application to determine his fees and wind up the estate, the applicant sought fees of $30,000 (approximately 3% of the current value of the remaining assets in the estate) and certain legal fees and disbursements - The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench held that $12,500 was a reasonable allowance for the applicant - In addition, he was entitled to recover legal fees of $3,000; $504.30 paid to Royal Reporting; and $500 in expenses for estate litigation - It was appropriate to take account of the fact that the applicant had resisted the residuary beneficiaries' initiative to sell land in the estate and that this had been a great benefit to them - Further, the applicant's claim of a fee of 3% of the estate was far less aggressive than it appeared - However, the key factor was that, while the estate had been active for over 35 years, the applicant had spent little time and effort for a great deal of that period - The co-executor had the primary responsibility for most of the administration - Further, the applicant had not provided particulars as to the time he spent or an accounting of the $10,000 in costs he claimed to have incurred to meet with lawyers - See paragraphs 17 to 24.

Cases Noticed:

Gerrand et al. v. Safian (1995), 134 Sask.R. 229; 101 W.A.C. 229 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 8].

Safian Estate v. Safian - see Gerrand et al. v. Safian.

Preboy Estate, Re (1989), 72 Sask.R. 33 (Surr. Ct.), affd. (1989), 74 Sask.R. 223 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 9].

Verbonac, Re (1984), 31 Sask.R. 161 (Surr. Ct.), refd to. [para. 9].

Kirkpatrick Estate, Re (1996), 149 Sask.R. 299 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 11].

Manchester v. Kluck et al. (2004), 246 Sask.R. 130; 2004 SKQB 136, refd to. [para. 11].

McCullagh, Re (1983), 31 Sask.R. 227 (Surr. Ct.), refd to. [para. 16].

Anderson Estate, Re, [2012] A.R. Uned. 871; 79 E.T.R.(3d) 317; 2012 ABQB 517, refd to. [para. 16].

Chabros v. Anderson - see Anderson Estate, Re.

Counsel:

Lyle O. Phillips, for the applicant;

Philip J. Gallet, for the beneficiaries.

This application was heard by Barrington-Foote, J., of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench, Judicial Centre of Regina, who delivered the following judgment on January 19, 2015.

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