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In re Estate of Clark

Court of Appeals of Oregon

March 1, 2017

In the Matter of the Estate of Leonard P. Clark, Deceased.
v.
Robert B. HARRINGTON, as the Personal Representative of the Estate of Leonard P. Clark; Julie Clark Downie; and Leslie Clark Evans, Respondents. Dalton HOBBS; Mitchell Hobbs; and Dalton Hobbs, as the Personal Representative of the Estate of Thelma Priscilla Clark, Appellants,

          Argued and Submitted February 24, 2016.

         Washington County Circuit Court C100199PE; Andrew Erwin, Judge.

          Zachariah H. Allen argued the cause for appellants. On the briefs were Dean N. Alterman, Courtney C. Dippel, and Folawn Alterman & Richardson LLP.

          Thomas W. Sondag argued the cause for respondent Robert B. Harrington. With him on the brief was Lane Powell PC.

          Bruce L. Campbell argued the cause for respondents Julie Clark Downie and Leslie Clark Evans. On the brief were John F. Purcell and Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP.

          Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Judge, and Shorr, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Hobbs, as personal representative for his mother's estate, appeals from a judgment of final distribution of the estate of his step-father, contending that the probate court erred in declining to address a request for partial distribution that had been filed by the mother during her lifetime, before entering the judgment of final distribution.

         Held:

         The trial court did not err in addressing the petition for partial distribution, because the granting of a petition for partial distribution is within the discretion of the probate court, and there has been no showing that the probate court abused its discretion in declining to resolve the petition. Additionally, the petition for final distribution superseded the petition for partial distribution.

         Affirmed.

          EGAN, J.

         Dalton Hobbs, as personal representative for his mother Thelma's estate (Dalton), appeals from a judgment of final distribution of the estate of his step-father, Leonard Clark (the decedent).[1] Respondents Downie and Evans are the decedent's daughters, and respondent Harrington is the personal representative of the decedent's estate. Dalton contends that the probate court erred in declining to address a request for partial distribution that had been filed by Thelma during her lifetime, before entering the judgment of final distribution. In reviewing the probate court's judgment, we are bound by the court's factual findings in the record if there is evidence to support them, and we review legal questions for errors of law. ORS 111.105(2) ("Appeals from a circuit court sitting in probate shall be taken to the Court of Appeals in the manner provided by law for appeals from the circuit court."); Bigsby v. Vogel. 248 Or.App. 423, 425, 273 P.3d 284 (2012).[2] We conclude that the court did not err and therefore affirm.

         The facts on which the probate court based its judgment are primarily procedural and are not disputed. The decedent's will created two revocable trusts upon his death. The first trust, Thelma's Trust, was exclusively for the benefit of Thelma, his surviving spouse. Thelma's Trust was to be funded after the decedent's death. The will directed the greater portion of the decedent's estate to Thelma's Trust. All of the income from Thelma's Trust was to be paid to Thelma at least annually. The trust permitted Thelma to ...


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