Hyatt v. Paoletti
The Superior Court may set aside the Probate Court's final decree, pursuant to the Superior Court's equitable jurisdiction, if the final decree is void as a result of fraud, accident or mistake. The plaintiff, George Hyatt, alleged that the Probate Court wrongly concluded that Charles Lecouras did not possess a will. Allegedly, the Probate Court approved the final accounting of the decedent's estate in September 2008, and the plaintiff, who kept possession of the decedent's will, was unaware that the decedent died until May 2010. The plaintiff, who allegedly was entitled to 50 percent of the estate, pursuant to the decedent's last will, requested an injunction to bar the defendant from conveying, transferring or encumbering the net proceeds of the decedent's estate and an order to return the assets of the decedent's estate to a fiduciary. The defendant moved to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The plaintiff's complaint adequately alleged that the Probate Court's decree should be set aside, because the Probate Court wrongly concluded that the decedent did not possess a will. "The Superior Court," wrote the court, "has the power to hear such a claim through exercise of its equitable jurisdiction." The court denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint.