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In re Estate of Jones
Washington Supreme Court
93 P.3d 147 (2004)
Marcella Louise Jones’s will appointed her son, Russell (defendant) as the personal representative of her estate. The will distributed the estate equally between Russell and his three brothers, David, Jeffery, and Peter. Before her death, Marcella allowed Russel to live and practice law from a home owned by her. After Marcella’s death and while the estate was open, Russell continued to live and work in the home, rent-free. One year after Marcella’s death, Russell deeded the home to himself but did not record the deed. There was no agreement between Russell and his brothers to allow Russell to live in the house without paying rent, nor was there an agreement that Russell would take the house as his distributive share of the estate. While the estate was open, Russell also put 17,000 miles on a car belonging to the estate, improperly sought to revalue a piano, commingled estate funds with his personal funds, and made distributions from his personal bank accounts and repaid himself with estate funds. The trial court found that Russell had breached his fiduciary duty to the estate and removed him from his role as personal representative.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Owens, J.)
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