Peter White, who was a sole practitioner running a firm called Archetypes in the Borders town of Broughton, stole the cash from the estate of Marjory Dakers-Sheriffs.
It has been reported in the local media that White, 51, was appointed as the executor of the elderly lady's will after she died. He had befriended her over the seven years they spent as neighbours.
But Peebles Sheriff Court heard that White's business got into difficulties in 2003 and he proceeded to write out cheques from Dakers-Sheriffs' estate to ease his problems, payments that totalled £59,436.
The court also heard that the architect had a previous fraud conviction, for which he had been fined £4,000.