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Appellant Seeks to Enforce a Stipulation of Settlement


This is a case being heard in the Second Department, Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The matter before the court is a contested probate proceeding. The executor of the estate is appealing an order that was made in the Surrogate’s Court of Queens County. The order was dated the 27th of July, 1989 and denied his motion to enforce a stipulation of settlement to admit the will for probate.

Case Discussion

On the 4th of October, 1988, a stipulation of settlement was entered between the appellant executor of the decedent’s estate and the widow and the sons of the decedent who had objected to probate of the will previously.

The stipulation was made in open court between the parties and provided that the objectants would withdraw their objections to probate in exchange for a payment of $23,500 to the decedent’s widow and a payment of $1000 to his oldest son. A New York Probate Lawyer said that both the widow and the son were present at the hearing and acknowledged that they agreed to the stipulation. However, one of the son’s of the decedent was not in court on the day the agreement was entered refused to sign the stipulation on the ground that it failed to provide a payment of $3000 to him as bequeathed by the will.

The executor moved to enforce the stipulation but the Surrogate denied his request. The surrogate offered no explanation for this denial and it is this order that is being appealed.

Court Decision

When the facts of the case are reviewed the court finds that the ruling in the Surrogate’s court was made in error as there was no evidence provided to support it. For this reason, a Nassau County Probate Lawyer said the order is reversed with the costs being paid by the respondents personally. The motion by the appellant is granted and the matter will be remitted to the Surrogate’s Court of Queens County for further proceedings.

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