In re Estate of Schurman

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionPDF versionPDF version

In re Estate of Schurman

Case Number
A-20-0750
Court Number
Adams
Call Date
September 16, 2021
Case Time
1:30 PM
Case Summary

A-20-0750, In re Estate of Victor Schurman

Adams County, County Judge Michael P. Burns

Background:  This case concerns the estate of Victor Schurman, who died in April 2012. Victor was married twice. He has two sons from his first marriage, Michael Schurman and James Schurman. Victor’s second wife, Christine Schurman, had four children, including two with Victor, Patricia Harris and Jeffrey Harris. After Victor’s death, Christine filed an application for informal probate of Victor’s will. Victor’s will directed that after certain distributions, the remaining cash assets should be distributed to Michael and James in equal shares. The remainder of the estate, not specifically left to anyone, was granted to Michael. As part of the estate proceedings, the trial court appointed a personal representative; that personal representative later withdrew from the case, and the trial court appointed a successor personal representative. He, too withdrew, but remained a special administrator with limited duties.

Over the next 8 years, Michael initiated and litigated numerous claims related to the estate and the personal representative. During the case, Christine passed away. Thereafter, Patricia and Jeffrey filed a complaint to intervene in the case, or in other words, they asked the trial court to allow them to join the case as parties so they could file pleadings and participate in the litigation. They are referred to in the case as “the intervenors.” The intervenors filed a motion that set forth three claims related to actions involving Michael. Ultimately, the trial court found that Michael had kept $160,000 of assets from the estate that he was not entitled to keep and ordered that he return the money to the estate. Michael appeals the trial court’s decision.

On appeal, Michael argues that the intervenors did not have standing to ask the court to order him to return the $160,000 to the estate. Under Nebraska law, standing is the legal or equitable right, title, or interest in the subject matter of the controversy which entitled a party to invoke the jurisdiction of the court, and a party must have standing in order to ask that the trial court grant any relief. He also argues that no one made demand upon him to return estate proceeds. And finally, he claims that even if he is required to return money to the estate, the correct amount is $53,525.50, not $160,000.

Attorneys:  Bradley D. Holbrook, Elizabeth J. Klingelhoefer (Jacobsen, Orr, Lindsstrom & Holbrook, PC, LLO) (for Michael) -- Kevin A. Brostrom (Lauritsen, Brownell & Brostrom, PC, LLO) (for the intervenors) -- Richard Calkins, Patrick J. Calkins (Calkins Law Office) (for PR/special administrator)

Case Location
Wayne State
Court Type
County Court
Schedule Code
A2
Panel Text
Riedmann, Bishop, and Arterburn, Judges