Session Date: April 16, 2015
Appeal from the Chancery Court for Rutherford County No. 13CV1596 Howard W. Wilson, Judge
Stacey Schlitz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Marcie Beasley and Jessica Sorenson.
Brent C. Gray, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kurt Beasley.
Andy D. Bennett, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Richard H. Dinkins and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.
ANDY D. BENNETT, JUDGE
Factual and Procedural Background
Timothy Beasley suffered a head injury as the result of an automobile accident in May 1997. Mr. Beasley's daughter, Marcie, and ex-wife, Peggy, filed a petition in the probate court of Rutherford County seeking the appointment of conservators. Marcie and Peggy were appointed co-conservators over Mr. Beasley's person. Several years earlier, Mr. Beasley had given his brother, Kurt, power of attorney to make financial decisions on his behalf. The probate court entered an Agreed Temporary Order on October 5, 1998, providing that Kurt would continue as attorney-in-fact/conservator to handle Mr. Beasley's affairs.
On December 5, 2008, the co-conservators filed a motion for status, accounting, and a scheduling order. They complained that Kurt had not performed the functions of a conservator because he had not prepared an inventory, posted a bond, or prepared a property management plan. Kurt filed an accounting on January 9, 2009, and again on March 17, 2009, pursuant to the court's orders.
In March 2010, Kurt sought to be released from his appointment as attorney-in-fact for Mr. Beasley. The probate court signed an order on August 11, 2010, commending Kurt for doing "an excellent job managing the estate of Timothy J. Beasley" and granting his request to resign as temporary conservator. The court ordered Kurt to remain the conservator until the next hearing on September 16, 2010, however, and ordered him to file a final accounting by September 16, 2010.
Marcie and Peggy objected to the court's order, complaining that Kurt's accounting contained several omissions and was incomplete in numerous ways. The co-conservators raised serious allegations regarding actions Kurt had taken and decisions he had made while managing his brother's property.
In an order signed on September 16, 2010, the probate court denied the co-conservators' objection to its order dated August 11, 2010. Then, on October 14, 2010, the probate court entered an order appointing Marcie and Jessica Sorenson (Marcie's sister and Mr. Beasley's other daughter) as co-conservators of Mr. Beasley's estate, thus replacing Mr. Beasley's brother, Kurt.
In February 2013, Marcie and Jessica (hereafter the "Conservators") filed a Memorandum of Issues for Accounting for Years 1998 through October 14, 2010, in which they raised several questions about Kurt's earlier accounting. The Conservators alleged that the clerk of the probate court never reviewed Kurt's accounting, and they asked the court's tax professional to address the issues/questions identified in their filing.
Following a hearing on February 12, 2013, the probate court ordered that Kurt's accounting be submitted to a certified public accountant ("CPA") for review. The court also ordered Kurt to submit additional information to the court. The court later amended its order and directed the clerk of the probate court to audit Kurt's accounting. On June 20, 2013, the probate clerk submitted a report indicating that Kurt's accounting was not ...