PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A son must repay his father’s estate $31,590.22, plus prejudgment interest, for money the son took from the account he was managing for his father, the South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled.
The state’s high court publicly released the unanimous opinion Thursday.
The estate of Robert T. Lynch sued his son Kevin Lynch for fiduciary fraud, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, and elder exploitation arising from Kevin’s management of his father Robert’s finances and farm operation in the Vermillion area prior to the father’s death.
In 2012, Kevin deposited $44,590.22 from two of his father’s CDs into his personal account and purchased a pickup truck. Kevin argued that the power of attorney granted to him by his father allowed Kevin to make gifts to himself.
Chief Justice Steven Jensen said however that the POA granted authority only up to the amount of the federal gift-tax exclusion, which was $13,000 in 2012.
“While Kevin may have inherited the pickup if it had been purchased in Bob’s name, the damage to the estate was the unauthorized withdrawal of $31,590.22 from the CDs,” the chief justice wrote. He added, “Therefore, the estate is entitled to recover the amount of damages Bob sustained on the day that Kevin impermissibly withdrew the money from the CDs.”