In February 14, 1980, the will of Sally Lippner, deceased, was contested by her daughter Suzanne H. Epstein. Ms. Lippner died in January 11, 1980, and the will questioned is dated December 1, 1979. In Ms. Lippner’s last will and testament, she bequeathed all her property to five charities. There is a gift of Israeli bonds to the State of Israel. The will also state that her daughter Ms. Epstein receives no part of her estate as she had adequately provided for her in her lifetime.
The will further specify that in case that the will fail and becomes useless all the property will go to her trustees. In conformance to the trust agreement that she has set up while she was alive. The inter vivos trust was also set on the same date of the will. The paperwork says that the trust will be funded if in any case that the gift, devise or legacy made under the last will and testament made by Ms. Lippner will be ineffective. The trustees on the document are the same people named as executors of her will. Meaning, the trustees will give the income from the fund to the same charities she has named in her will, says a New York Estate Administration Lawyer. After five years, the charities then will receive the principal divided equally between them.
Ms. Lippner’s will included a “no contest” clause. A New York Probate Lawyer also said, from the records, it specifically stated that any person who will contest the will, it does not matter what reason will lose the right to any part of the estate which, would have been theirs. Aside from these papers documenting litigation between the Ms. Lippner and her daughter, Ms. Epstein, was attached. It had the history of the litigation to show that Ms. Epstein, although the only descendant was really intended to be excluded from the estate distribution.
Ms. Epstein filed four final objections to probate. The first one was the failure of due execution, second was forgery, third was the lack of testamentary capacity and the last one was fraud and undue influence. Failure of due execution, according to a New York Estate Lawyer, is the will having all the requirements of the law like having two witness signatures. The excessive nature of the will was not included because the courts decided that if the will fail by any other reason, then, the disposition to the charitable institutions will go with it.
The executor asserted that Ms. Epstein is not in the position to contest the will. This he states that is because either way she will not get anything. If the will take effect, she gets nothing. If the will fail, she still gets nothing.
What a New York Probate Lawyer got from the court’s review was that the ‘no contest’ clause does not affect the daughter’s right to contest. Her claim is to discredit the whole will. If the will become ineffective because of her reasons then the ‘no contest’ clause will also be worthless. The part of the will that says that her daughter is to receive nothing from her will is for the estate itself, does not affect her right for the probate. If Ms. Epstein was only arguing the part of the will for excessive charitable gift then she would most probably be denied the case, but what she is disagreeing with was the will as a whole. The rule, as it is in New York City and Queens, that if the person who is contesting will receive a monetary benefit invalidates the contest only applies if the will is attacked in part. The inter vivos trust need not be discussed as it is a separate agreement. For these reasons, the appeal for summary judgment to dismiss the objections to the probate was denied.
When you are faced with this situation where a last will and testament seek to deprive you an experienced New York Probate Lawyer can help you make sure your rights are upheld. They can give you your options. They will be the one to see to it that you are not robbed of any right to the part of the estate that should be yours.
Stephen Bilkis & Associates have Probate Lawyers, who has handled a lot of these cases. If you are in need of one, you can get them at 1-800 NY – NY- LAW. You can be anywhere in New York or Long Island. Though probates may take long, they will do it with you step by step, making sure that your interest is always considered. Call us for a free consultation and see that we will put you first.