Estate of Cabatit v. CandersAnnotate this Case
Thomas Cabatit was survived by two sons, Jerediah and Joseph, who were given equal shares of Thomas’s Estate after his death. In his will, Thomas designated his sister, Julibel, as the personal representative of his Estate. Julibel subsequently retained Steven Canders and Maine Legal Associates, P.A. (collectively, MLA) to represent her in probate of the Estate. Jerediah and Joseph later filed a petition to surcharge Julibel and remove her as personal representative, alleging mismanagement of the Estate. The probate court removed Julibel and designated Joseph as the successor personal representative. Thereafter, Joseph, in his capacities as a beneficiary and as the personal representative of the Estate, sued MLA, alleging that MLA breached duties it owed to the Estate and to Joseph as a beneficiary by giving Julibel improper advice. The superior court granted summary judgment for MLA, concluding that the scope of the attorney-client relationship did not include a duty to the Estate. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) no attorney-client relationship existed between Joseph in his role as successor personal representative of the Estate and MLA; and (2) MLA did not owe a duty to Joseph as a nonclient.