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Probate Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Roy, Christopher

 

SC19633 - Heisinger v. Cleary ("This case concerns the standard of care applicable to executors who seek professional advice to value the assets of an estate for the purpose of preparing state and federal estate tax returns. The plaintiff, Cody B. Heisinger, appeals from the trial court's rendering of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, Ward Frank Cleary and Ann Heisinger Dillon, after the plaintiff failed to produce an expert witness on standard of care in his action alleging that the defendants had breached their fiduciary duties by overvaluing an estate asset. The plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly concluded that an expert was required and that, on the undisputed facts, the court instead should have rendered summary judgment, as to liability, in his favor. We agree that an expert witness was unnecessary but conclude, nevertheless, that the trial court properly rendered summary judgment in the defendants' favor because the undisputed facts demonstrated conclusively that they could not be held liable for any errors allegedly committed by the professionals they had selected and retained. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")