The fight over who will control the estate of slain Covington obstetrician Wayne Breen took a new twist Friday, as a lawyer for his widow, Kacie Breen, filed a pleading that seeks to make her the sole administrator.
Kacie Breen has admitted shooting her husband twice on March 1 and remains under investigation in his death.
Judge Scott Gardner of the 22nd Judicial District Court had appointed Kacie Breen and the dead man’s son-in-law, Jeff Dunbar, as co-administrators on April 21.
Kacie Breen, who sought to be put in sole control of the estate five days after his death, found herself challenged by his five grown children from his first marriage, who wanted Dunbar to be in charge.
Gardner split the difference, putting Dunbar in control of any stock accounts, retirement accounts, trusts and a property Wayne Breen owned in Lafayette. Kacie Breen was given charge of any property in St. Tammany Parish, including 500 acres of family land, plus Breen’s medical practice and his life insurance policies.
But Richard Ducote, Kacie Breen’s new attorney, filed a pleading on her behalf Friday that asks for Gardner’s earlier decision to be thrown out. The new filing hinges on the discovery of an original copy of the late doctor’s will, which was located in a box in Wayne Breen’s office, according to the new filing.
The location of an original will could put to rest a persistent issue in the struggle over the dead man’s estate. Attorneys working for Kacie Breen had asked the court to appoint a lawyer to try to find the will. That filing, made five days after Breen’s death, included the most recent copy of the will that Kacie Breen had signed on Sept. 26, 2013.
That document named Kacie Breen executrix of the will and Dunbar the alternate executor.
The court appointed lawyer Alan Black to conduct the search, but Black was unable to locate an original copy.
Kacie Breen now says that she has found the will, in a box where she says she told Black to look, court records show.
The newly found will is identical to the copy submitted earlier.
Rene Frederick, who represents three of the Breen children in the dispute over the doctor’s estate, said his clients plan to oppose Kacie Breen’s appointment as executrix.
Further complicating the legal picture is a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Sean Breen, one of the doctor’s five children from his first marriage.
Kacie Breen is now on her third lawyer in her wranglings over the estate of her dead husband. She first was represented by the firm of Talley, Anthony, Hughes & Knight, which caused some controversy because Chuck Hughes also provides legal counsel to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the homicide.
While Hughes’ partner, Ted Dittmer, argued that there was no conflict of interest, the firm withdrew and Paul Lea became Kacie Breen’s lawyer. Now, Ducote represents her.
When asked why Kacie Breen had changed firms again, Ducote said that people change lawyers sometimes.
Staff writer Faimon A. Roberts III contributed to this report.
Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.