Articles Posted in Long Island

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In this action for a declaratory judgment, plaintiffs appeal from a judgment where, following a trial on stipulated facts, the court dismissed the complaint. Plaintiffs are the only children of the husband and wife, both now deceased. The wife died first and the husband thereafter. Defendant is the second wife and the other defendant is the executor of the last will and testament of said husband.

Upon the death of the husband, plaintiffs commenced the within action seeking a declaration of their rights with respect to the husband’s estate. The complaint consisted of four causes of action, as follows: (1) To impress a constructive trust upon certain real property located at 141 Forest Green, Staten Island; (2) To void the right of election filed by defendant second wife under section 5-1.1 of the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law as surviving widow of the husband; (3) To impress a constructive trust upon the proceeds of a pension plan of the deceased husband had with the City of New York, which were paid to Anne as designated beneficiary at the husband’s death.; (4) To impress a constructive trust upon funds which prior to the death of the first wife had been in savings and/or checking accounts in the joint or individual names of the husband and wife, and upon other personal property which had been in the joint and/or individual names of the husband and wife prior to the wife’s death, which the husband thereafter transferred to himself and the second wife as joint tenants.

On October 17, 1967 the husband and wife had executed a joint will which provides, in pertinent part, as follows: We, in consideration of the agreement of each of us to dispose of our property as hereinafter set forth, do hereby make, publish and declare this to be our joint Last Will and Testament. First: We give to the survivor of us all our property, both real and personal. Second: After the death of the survivor of either of us, all our property, both real and personal, we give devise and bequeath unto our children (plaintiffs herein). The wife died on September 27, 1971 and the joint will, insofar as her estate was concerned, was admitted to probate in Kings County. At the time of her death, the husband and wife owned as tenants by the entirety, two parcels of real estate, one at 3722 Clarendon Road and the other at Avenue D, in Kings County, and had a bank account in their joint names in a Brooklyn bank.

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This is a holdover Landlord-Tenant summary proceeding. The tenant has moved to dismiss the petition pursuant to RPAPL 721 and 741 asserting that the petitioner, as a preliminary executrix, lacks the power to prosecute a holdover proceeding on behalf of the decedent’s estate.

This case was originally returnable on September 13, 2012. Attorneys for both sides appeared. Tenant’s attorney asked that the case be dismissed and, upon the Court’s reluctance to do so without a record, requested a motion schedule. The Court set the schedule to require that the motion be filed by September 20 with answering papers due September 23 and set October 4 as a control date. Despite this schedule, tenant made no request for any extension of time and made no motion until filing papers on September 28.

The issue in this case is whether petitioner’s motion to dismiss the holdover Landlord-Tenant petition pursuant to RPAPL 721 and 741 on the ground that the petitioner, as a preliminary executrix, lacks the power to prosecute a holdover proceeding on behalf of the decedent’s estate.

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This is a motion by plaintiff for summary judgment under Rule 113 of the Rules of Civil Practice. This action is brought pursuant to section 500 of the Real Property Law to have a mortgage cancelled of record on the ground that it is outlawed by the statute of limitations (Section 47-a, Civil Practice Act).

The answer consists of general denials and two affirmative defenses, namely, (1) that the mortgagors on September 17, 1949 acknowledged the mortgage and the indebtedness in writing, thereby extending the statute of limitations, and (2) upon information and belief, that sometime after September 17, 1949 and prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, the mortgagors absented themselves from the jurisdiction of this court in that they or either of them were then and still are residing in Italy.

On February 8, 1929, Mr. A.C. and Mrs. L.C., his wife, executed and delivered to one Mr. P.K. a mortgage in the sum of $2,750, covering premises owned by them as tenants by the entirety, with interest at 6 per cent. payable quarterly until February 8, 1932, when the balance of the principal sum became due and payable. On the same day this mortgage was assigned to Ms. K.D. Said assignee died testate on August 13, 1940 a resident of Kings County; and his will was admitted to probate on January 22, 1941, and the defendant herein duly qualified as executor thereunder and is still acting in that capacity.

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A New York Probate Lawyer said in this Will Contest proceeding, the decedent died in May 2006, survived by his wife and their two children, the proponent and the objectant. The wife suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Her cousin and an attorney, were appointed her guardians pursuant to Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law and they have appeared for her in this proceeding. They filed a notice of election on her behalf.

Queens Probate Lawyers said that the proponent filed the petition for probate in June 2006 and jurisdiction was obtained over all necessary parties in August 2006. The propounded will leaves nothing to objectant, allegedly because the decedent believed that she had converted assets worth $3 million from him and from the wife by use of a power of attorney they had given her. In fact, he pressed criminal charges against her which resulted in her plea of guilty to a Class A misdemeanor. The objectant filed objections to probate; however, she never appeared for her deposition in this proceeding, nor did she ever produce any documents demanded by petitioner. Her initial reason for seeking to delay her deposition was that doing so would violate her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. However, she never appeared for deposition even after the conclusion of the criminal matter when she no longer had a claim of constitutional privilege. She then averred that she was suffering from a psychological condition which prevented her from being deposed. Being unconvinced of that contention, the court, by decision and order, granted the summary judgment motion to the extent that objectant’s objections of fraud and undue influence, upon which the objectant bears the burden of proof, were dismissed.

A New York Will lawyer said regarding petitioner’s motion for summary judgment, the proponent of a summary judgment motion must make a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, tendering sufficient evidence to demonstrate the absence of any material issues of fact. Failure to make such prima facie showing requires a denial of the motion, regardless of the sufficiency of the opposing papers. Once this showing has been made, the burden shifts to the party opposing the motion for summary judgment to produce evidentiary proof in admissible form sufficient to establish the existence of material issues of fact which require a trial of the action. Summary judgment in contested probate proceedings is appropriate where a contestant fails to raise any issues of fact regarding execution of the Will, testamentary capacity, undue influence or fraud.

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A New York Probate Lawyer said that this is an action transferred to this court from Supreme Court, Nassau County, defendant Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (Countrywide), one of several defendants, moves the court for an order dismissing the complaint as against Countrywide. Plaintiffs oppose Countrywide’s motion and cross-move for summary judgment dismissing Countrywide’s answer, or, in the alternative, striking Countrywide’s fourth and seventh affirmative defenses.

A New York Will Lawyer said that, this action emanates from a foreclosure proceeding involving property located at 198-200 Wellesley Street, Hempstead, New York. That property was owned by the decedent who died intestate on July 13, 1986. Her brother, administered her estate as voluntary administrator pursuant to SCPA Article 13. It appears, although it is not entirely clear, that her brother was the decedent’s sole distributee and that the subject property vested in him immediately upon his sister’s death. The brother then died testate on June 9, 1994. An administrator was appointed the voluntary administrator of his estate. The court’s file contains his original will which devises and bequeaths all of his property to his cousin. He died August 1, 2000. There was no deed executed from the estate of the decedents, nor was there a deed from the estate of the brother. Although the brother original will was filed in the court by Calhoun incident to the voluntary administration of the estate of the decedent, the will was never offered for, or admitted to, probate. The plaintiffs are the non-marital children of the decedent, the administrators of his estate, and claim to be his only distributees.

A Long Island Probate Lawyer said that, the underlying action by plaintiffs is to vacate the tax lien foreclosure sale, the deed by which the current owners of record, defendants, obtained title, and the mortgage placed on the property by the defendant Countrywide incident to the purchase of the property by defendants. Plaintiffs contend that as the fee owners of the subject property at the time the foreclosure action was commenced, they were entitled to notice of the proceeding and the failure to provide that notice requires the vacating of the judgment in the foreclosure action and all subsequent deeds and mortgages.

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A New York Probate Lawyer said a deceased man was survived by his wife and three adult children. Afterward, his last will was offered to probate. The man’s 2003 last will bequeathed his personal property, shares of stocks and real property to his wife. A trust is also established for the benefit of his wife, and upon her death, the property was to be held in trust for their three children until they reached the age of thirty.

A New York Will Lawyer said the article sixth of the man’s 2003 last will provides that the man’s interest for various companies and real property is to be held in trust for the benefit of his wife, but subject to the option of his son to purchase the same.

Afterward, the last will was admitted to probate and the letters testamentary was issued to the estate administrator.

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In this Will Contest action, the objectants move for reargument of the Court’s decision. Petitioners cross move for summary judgment dismissing the objections.

A New York Probate Lawyer said that decedent died in July 1992. Petitioners, as nominated co-executors, seek to admit to probate an instrument executed sometime in June 1981 and two codicils. The sole residuary beneficiary began acting as accountant and financial advisor for decedent and her husband in 1970.

The issue to be resolved before the Court is whether this fact, without more, raises an inference of undue influence.

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Decedent died in March 1990 at the age of 91 years. Her distributees are three nieces and one nephew. A New York Probate Lawyer said the propounded instrument is a two-page typewritten document containing a modest bequest to one of decedent’s nieces and bequeathing the residue of this estate, alleged to have a value in excess of $1,000,000.00, to decedent’s nephew. Decedent’s nieces filed objections to probate raising issues with regard to due execution, testamentary capacity, and fraud and undue influence in addition to the issue of revocation presented in the pending application.

A New York Will Lawyer said that proponents are the attorney-draftsman of the propounded instrument and his law partner in whose offices the instrument was executed on January 1980. The instrument was retained by proponents until it was filed for safekeeping in the Surrogate’s Court, Westchester County, on February 1980. The original of the propounded will was delivered to this court in connection with the probate proceeding.

It is alleged that decedent, accompanied by one of the objectants and her husband, had an appointment with an attorney during which she expressed her intention to revoke the will. She apparently did not know that the original will had been filed for safekeeping or have any other idea as to its location but she had brought a photocopy of the executed original. Prior to the appointment, decedent had written the word “Void” at the top of the first page of the photocopy. During the meeting with counsel, decedent wrote the word “Cancelled” across the first page of the photocopy under which notation she wrote the date and her initials. Decedent then cut her signature out of the second page of the photocopy. Queens Probate Lawyers said the latter two acts were performed in the presence of decedent’s niece, her husband, and two attorneys. Counsel subsequently retained possession of the altered photocopy and prepared a file memorandum which memorialized the transaction. Apparently decedent never executed a later will. Conservators of her property were subsequently appointed by the Supreme Court, Bronx County.

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In this proceeding, probate is sought of a testamentary instrument executed sometime in December 1982. A New York Probate Lawyer said the proponent is the nominated executor and one of decedent’s sons. Decedent died on the same month. She was survived by four adult children.

According to a Bronx County Probate lawyer, the propounded instrument bequeaths decedent’s entire estate to three of her children. The instrument consists of four typewritten pages which are numbered “1,” “2,” “3,” and “5”. Page “4” is missing.

The propounded instrument was hastily prepared for a hospitalized testatrix. A New York Will Lawyer said the instrument was delivered to proponent to be taken to decedent for execution since the attorney-draftsman was not able to be present to supervise the execution ceremony. The absence of page “4” was discovered prior to decedent’s death, but at a time when she had deteriorated to a point where it was deemed that she should not be burdened with the execution of a corrected instrument. A copy of the missing page has been submitted to the court. This page contains a recitation of the general powers of the executor which had commenced on the preceding page and a direction with respect to the distribution of principal or income for the benefit of any legatee under a legal disability. The conclusion of this latter provision is set forth on page “5” of the instrument, upon which decedent’s signature and those of the attesting witnesses appear. Page “4” has no dispositive provisions, does not nominate any fiduciary, nor does it recite any granting or limitation of fiduciary authority which is not otherwise covered by statute. From the papers and the requests made of the probate clerk, it appears to be petitioner’s position that he wishes the will admitted inclusive of the missing page “4”. The two questions posed are, whether proponent’s request to admit page “4” to probate can be granted and if it isn’t, whether the absence of this page from the instrument fatally impugns the admissibility of the entire instrument.

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The plaintiffs seek to set aside a deed executed by the decedent’s sister, in October 2000, transferring to the decedent her 50% interest in real property in the Bronx. The complaint, alleges, inter alia, that decedent, as a result of undue influence exerted upon her by the decedent’s sister, conveyed to her 50% interest in the Bronx realty. A New York Probate Lawyer said the complaint also contains a cause of action alleging that the decedent converted funds held in a joint bank account with decedent. The plaintiffs in the action are decedent and a niece and nephew of the decedent who allege that they own the remaining 50% interest in the realty.

A Bronx County Estate Litigation attorney said that in February 2005, the plaintiffs attempted to serve the decedent by substituted service while he was a patient at a hospital, by delivering the summons and complaint to a person who allegedly agreed to accept service on the decedent’s behalf, and mailing a copy to the decedent at that facility on the following day. The decedent died at the hospital, leaving five distributees including decedent and the other two plaintiffs.

A New York Will Lawyer said the non-relative, is the sole beneficiary under a testamentary instrument purportedly executed by the decedent. That instrument is the subject of a will contest and, upon a motion by the plaintiffs in the transferred action, the court consented to receive the transferred action for trial and, because the action could not proceed until a fiduciary was appointed in the decedent’s estate, the court invited the plaintiffs to “seek the appointment of a temporary administrator in the event that the proponent does not seek preliminary letters.

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