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Court Decides Probate of Case After Decedent Was Murdered

On 2009, a mother with her two daughters died at the hand of their husband and father. After the incident, the father committed suicide and died later that same day. Consequently, the mother’s cousin granted the temporary letters of estate administration of the three deceased. The mother was survived by one of her sister however her sister filed a waiver of a notice to appear in court, renunciation and consent to the appointment of the mother’s cousin to serve as administrator in connection with each of the three estates.

The man, who was the cousin of the mother, then filed a four related petitions as temporary administrator of the estates of the mother and the two daughters, a petition for full letters of administration without bond in the assets of the mother and her daughters and a petition for the determination of the mother’s interest in real property, a condominium and a cooperative apartment.

A notice to appear in court for each petition was issued as well as the supplemental notice. The notice also duly served on the public administrator. In addition, the public administrator, whom at that time had been appointed as the temporary administrator of the husband’s assets, subsequently received a full letters. The heirs of the husband’s assets also received a full letters. The notices of appearance were filed but none of the husband’s beneficiary appeared.
Consequently, the public administrator filed a verified answer and objection to each of the petitions. The public administrator argues that the relief requested must be denied. The public administrator further asserts that the requested appointment is premature, as there has not been an adequate search for wills which might have been left by the mother and the first daughter and in which each may have nominated as the administrator of the estate. In the event that the man is able to prove that the father caused the deaths of the mother and the two children, the public administrator’s answer raises the affirmative defenses of insanity, intoxication, mental illness, duress, extreme emotional disturbance, and the influence of mind-altering drugs.

The man filed a reply in response to the public administrator’s objections. The man maintains that he does not bear the burden of proof to establish eligibility for letters, as the issuance of preliminary letters serves as a preliminary determination of eligibility. A Long Island Probate Lawyers says he asserts than an extensive search for wills left by the mother and the father was unsuccessful. The man further asserts that based on the information and belief, even without having received the final laboratory results, the mother died first then followed by the two daughters then the father. In support of the father’s responsibility in the deaths of the mother and the two daughters, the man refers to information contained in the death certificates and annexes a copy of the crime report issued by the county’s police department.

Subsequently, the public administrator asserts that the man has not established that the mother and the first daughter died intestate. However, Manhattan Probate Lawyers said more than six months have passed since temporary letters of estate administration in connection with the assets of the mother and the assets of the first daughter. During that time, the counsel of the man together with the counsel of the public administrator had access to and searched the deceased’s properties and records but no wills have been found. As required, each of the petitions for the estates of the mother and the second daughter includes the man’s statement to the effect that a diligent search for a will was made and that no will was found. It is reasonable to now conclude, based upon these comprehensive searches and the man’s statements upon information and belief, that the mother and the first daughter died intestate.

The public administrator argues that the man has not established that he is not ineligible to receive letters, but the man does not bear the burden of proving his eligibility. Based on records, any party with an interest in an administration proceeding may challenge the granting of letters on the basis that the complaining party is ineligible to receive the letters. Consequently, the court previously granted the man temporary letters.

The man asks the court to issue a rule in determining that the mother died first, followed by the two daughter’s and then the father. The man further requests that the rule set forth that all four family members died at the hand of the father. In support of the said requested relief, the man submitted copies of death certificates for the father, the mother, and the two daughters which each of it revealed that their death occurred at 3 p.m. As noted by the man, the death certificates for the mother and the two daughters state that the reason of death was homicide, while the death certificate of the father states that he died as a result of suicide. The man also filed a copy of the county’s police department crime report, indicating that the deaths of the mother and the two daughters were homicides, and that the suspect in the homicides is the father. All of the documents appear to support the man’s position that the mother and the two daughters died before the father. However, no evidence was presented as to the order of death among the mother and her two daughters.

The man also asks the court to issue a rule directing that the father and his heirs are disqualified from receiving a share of the assets. Based on records, it is well established in law that one who takes the life of another should not be permitted to profit from another’s own wrong and shall be barred from inheriting from the person slain.

Based on records, the facts surrounding the estates presented are particularly dolorous and the court is sensitive to the desire of all parties to the proceedings to move forward expeditiously. Moreover, a New York Probate Lawyer said that until such time as a hearing may be held, the court is unable to address those portions of the request for relief which seek a rule setting forth the order of deaths, the person responsible for the deaths, the ineligibility of the father or his heirs to inherit a portion of the estates of the mother, the two daughters, and a determination of the mother’s interest in the property. At the same time, as noted above, the three applications of the man for the letters of administration in the assets of the mother and the two daughters are the only ones in court. Even if the man is not a successor of the mother’s assets, a non-heir may be granted letters where no heir is eligible and the non-heir has qualified. The letters in each property shall issue to the man upon duly qualification. Until the court determines whether the father and his heirs are disqualified from inheriting from those assets, the administrator shall post a bond for the full amount of each estate.

Apparently, a conference in this matter has been scheduled for the dual purpose of determining whether any outstanding issues exist on which the parties may agree, as it is possible that additional information has come since the petitions and responsive papers were filed.

If someone trusted you of his/her assets and you don’t have enough knowledge about it, you can ask the Kings County Estate Administration Lawyer or Kings County Estate Lawyer for you to have a better understanding about it and a legal guidance as well.

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