Master Recommends Removal of One of the Three Estate Administrators for His Failure to Explain the Delays in Filing the Accounting, Neglecting His Duties, and to Remove an Impasse Created by His Refusal to Sign the Accounting

Delaware Fiduciary Litigation Blog

Posted November 13, 2013

Pinno v. Pinno, et al. C.A. #7878 & ROW #153951-N (November 5, 2013)


The Register of Wills issued a Rule to Show Cause as to why three estate administrators should not be removed for their failure to file a timely accounting. At the hearing, two of the three administrators appeared and explained the delays. The third (“Lawrence”) did not appear and the Master recommended that the Court enter an order removing him.


This case involved some additional unusual facts. Namely, Lawrence called the Master directly and reached her on her private line in chambers. Upon realizing that he was a party to a pending matter, the Master provided her assistant’s contact information and terminated the call. The following day, less than three hours before the hearing that Lawrence had requested, the Master received by facsimile a letter from Lawrence. The letter, which the Master described as both “disrespectful and inaccurate,” indicated that Lawrence was refusing to appear at the hearing that afternoon. It read, “I will not be attending your Hearing [sic] this afternoon, as it bodes ill when a Judicial Officer hangs up the telephone on an innocent person who is not involved in a contested case, but merely an informant trying to do his duty to the Court, the Register and the system in general. I am not about to drive for 6 hours to have my head handed to me, although that might be interesting, as it is Halloween and I need a costume.” The Master also pointed out that Lawrence “has been abusive to this Court and the Register of Wills staff, to say nothing of his treatment of [the other two administrators], their counsel, or the third party vendor hired . . . to move the Decedent’s personal property out of the home.”


Regarding the accounting at issue, the other two administrators explained at the hearing that among other difficulties, Lawrence was refusing to sign the accounting, creating an impasse. To remove to the impasse and because Lawrence was neglecting his duties as administrator, the Master recommended his removal.


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