Justice Charles Markey

Kanakos sued her uncle Kostakos to assert an interest in the subject real property, or for the proceeds from its sale. The property was owned by Kostakos’ brother, John, but Kostakos conveyed the premises to himself under a power of attorney and then sold it. Kanakos alleged she was advised by John and others that she would inherit the property. She noted that while title was transferred to Kostakos in 1999, she did not learn of it until after John’s death in 2009. Kanakos alleged, based on information and belief, that John executed a will naming her a beneficiary of the premises. Kostakos sought dismissal of the complaint against him, arguing a defense founded on documentary evidence. He argued Kanakos lacked the legal capacity to sue. The court stated that a plaintiff who alleged in her individual capacity that she was a beneficiary or distributee of assets from John’s estate had no independent cause of action either in her own right or the right of the estate to recover estate assets. It ruled such claims must be maintained only by the estate’s representative, noting as Kanakos brought the claims in her individual capacity, she lacks a legal capacity to maintain them.