Master Pro Hac Vice Disallows Bill for Limousine Hired Five Years After Burial

Delaware Fiduciary Litigation Blog

Posted November 4, 2013

IMO The Estate of Leonard Rich, KC-ROW #F03072007R (October 29, 2013)

Pursuant to Chancery Court Rule 144(a)(1), Master Pro Hac Vice Poppiti issued a report on exceptions to the final accounting, as filed collectively by four beneficiaries of the estate.

In so doing, the Master succinctly stated the three-factor test to use when analyzing the appropriateness of deductions: 1) relevance,  2) reasonableness, and 3) timeliness. He explained that “[t]his is not new case law but rather the synthesis of so many wise Chancery decisions over the years. The factors are intertwined yet unique, and as seen in the case at bar, one factor can be so strong as to be determinative.” In this case, the Master dismissed all the exceptions, save one.

The Court disallowed a limousine bill of $575.00. Regarding that cost, the Master stated that “paying for a limousine was possibly relevant and possibly reasonable, but it certainly was not timely. Generally, at the time of burial, the funeral home will offer a limousine to the decedent’s family as part of its overall services; family members, fraught with grief, are not then burdened with driving from say, the church to the gravesite. In the present case, the Administratrix hired a limousine five years after burial to transport some family members to the unveiling of the headstone. The expense was appropriate at the time of burial but not five years later.”


William M. Kelleher, Director
Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella, P.A.