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In re Estate of Engellant

Supreme Court of Montana

May 2, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF GREGORY ENGELLANT, A Protected Person.
v.
KENNETH ENGELLANT, individually and as Guardian and Conservator for GREGORY ENGELLANT, a protected person, Respondent and Appellee. DAREN ENGELLANT and KEVIN ENGELLANT, Petitioners and Appellants,

          Submitted on Briefs: March 29, 2017

         APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Twelfth Judicial District, In and For the County of Chouteau, Cause No. DP-85-008 Honorable Daniel A. Boucher, Presiding Judge

          For Appellants: Paul A. Sandry, Johnson, Berg, & Saxby, PLLP, Kalispell, Montana

          For Appellee: Stephen R. Brown, Jr., Bradley E. Dugdale, Bosch, Kuhr, Dugdale, Martin & Kaze, PLLP, Havre, Montana

          For Gregory Engellant: Daniel N. McLean, Jerrod D. Bevan, Crowley Fleck, PLLP, Helena, Montana

          Mike McGrath Chief Justice

         ¶1 Daren Engellant and Kevin Engellant filed a petition to remove Kenneth Engellant as conservator for Gregory Engellant. They appeal from the District Court's September 19, 2016 order granting Kenneth's motion for summary judgment and concluding that they lacked standing to maintain the petition. We reverse and remand.

         ¶2 We restate the issue on appeal as follows: Did the District Court err in granting summary judgment to Kenneth and dismissing the petition for lack of standing?

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶3 The parties to this case are all related. Petitioners Daren and Kevin Engellant are the sons of Respondent Kenneth Engellant, and they are the nephews of Gregory Engellant. Gregory was permanently disabled in an accident in 1982. His brother Kenneth has served as his appointed conservator since 1985. Gregory executed a will in 1978 prior to his accident, and in 2012 he executed a second will. Daren and Kevin are devisees under both wills.

         ¶4 Daren and Kevin object to the way their father Kenneth has handled their Uncle Gregory's affairs as conservator. They complained to Montana Adult Protective Services (APS) that Kenneth was improperly administering the conservatorship estate. APS filed an action seeking to remove Kenneth as conservator, but the action was subsequently dismissed by stipulation. Daren and Kevin filed the present action in November 2014 in the conservatorship proceeding, seeking to remove their father Kenneth as conservator for their Uncle Gregory.

         ¶5 In September 2015 Kenneth filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that Daren and Kevin lacked standing to maintain a proceeding to remove him as conservator. In September 2016 the District Court granted Kenneth's motion for summary judgment, concluding that Daren and Kevin lacked standing.

         ¶6 Daren and Kevin appeal.

         STANDARD ...


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