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WILLS AND ESTATES - CONSERVATORSHIPS, ESTATES, ADMINISTRATION - HOFF V. GOYER

In Hoff v. Goyer, [Ms. 1111078, Aug. 17, 2012] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2012), the Supreme Court held that Ala. Code ¤ 12-11-41 (1975) contemplates the removal from probate court to circuit court of a deceased person's estate, while ¤ 26-2-3 contemplates the removal of a living person's estate. Further, while the authority of a conservator of a protected person or ward's estate may cease upon the death of the protected person or ward, a conservatorship estate remains open until final settlement thereof pursuant to ¤ 26-5-1 et seq. Also, ¤ 26-5-12 expressly contemplates the simultaneous existence of a conservator administering a protected person's estate while the person was living and an administrator or personal representative who would administer that same protected person's or ward's post-death estate following appointment by the probate court. Accordingly, the attempt to remove the conservatorship proceeding after death pursuant to ¤ 12-11-41 was improper because ¤ 26-2-3, not ¤ 12-11-41, was the governing statute and the conservator did not qualify to remove the estate pursuant to ¤ 26-2-3, such that the circuit court did not err in remanding the estate to the probate court.

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