Articles Posted in Brooklyn

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In a contested probate proceeding, the objectant appeals, as limited by her brief, from so much of a decree of the Surrogate’s Court, Kings County, dated April 11, 1986, as, upon a ruling made after close of all the evidence at a jury trial dismissing all her objections as a matter of law, dismissed her third objection alleging that the will was procured by the undue influence of the petitioner, admitted the will to probate and awarded letters testamentary to the petitioner.

The testimony at the trial established that the decedent had executed a will in 1977 which would have distributed her estate equally to her two sisters, who were then living, and the proponent of the will in question, the surviving son of a third sister. In the event either of the decedent’s two sisters predeceased her, their shares would go to the objectant, the daughter of one of those sisters. In December 1977 the decedent fractured a hip bone and the proponent of the will came to her aid and assisted her in getting to the hospital. A few days after the decedent’s accident, the proponent of the will ended his employment as a tenured college professor and devoted his energies to assisting his aunt in her affairs, primarily acting as her financial advisor. Specifically, he executed a power of attorney in favor of him; the decedent’s securities were removed from her safe deposit box by proponent of the will and he transferred them to a box in his name; the bank accounts were transferred by the proponent of the will into an account in the joint names of the decedent and the proponent of the will, and he signed the decedent’s name on the account application at her request; he arranged for the dividend checks from the decedent’s securities to be deposited directly into another joint account which was opened in a similar fashion; and the bank statements from the joint accounts were sent to the proponent of the wills home although the proxy materials were sent to her. In addition, the proponent of the will assisted the decedent in finding various nursing homes wherein she resided after her 1977 accident and until her death in 1984.

In 1981, the proponent of the will drafted and typed a new will for the decedent which named the proponent of the will as the sole beneficiary and executor of her estate. Although by that time the two sisters had died, no provision was made in the new will for the objectant.

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A New York Probate Lawyer said that, before the court is a petition for the probate of an instrument dated March 11, 2008. Petitioner is the nominated executor. Respondents are children of decedent and children of a predeceased son. Also pending before the court is a proceeding by the nominated executor for the recovery of property alleged to be an asset of the estate (SCPA 2103). The examinations of the attorney-draftsman, the nominated executor, and the attesting witnesses have been completed.

A New York Will Lawyer said that, on this motion, respondents seek: (1) a stay of the probate proceeding pending conclusion of the SCPA 2103 proceeding; (2) a stay of the probate proceeding pending a construction of the in terrorem clause in the instrument offered for probate; (3) an order granting petitioner the right to depose the nominated successor executor prior to filing objections; and (4) an order granting petitioner the right to depose the attorney-draftsman of a prior instrument purporting to be the last will and testament of decedent, again, prior to the filing of objections.

A Nassau Estate Litigation Attorney said that, in support of that branch of the motion which seeks a stay of this proceeding pending a construction of the instrument offered for probate, petitioners allege that the in terrorem clause violates public policy. An issue as to whether a provision of a last will and testament violates public policy must be resolved by construction of the instrument to determine the testator’s intent and the effect of the provisions on the persons to be influenced. However, the court has no authority to construe a will before its admission to probate. That branch of the motion is therefore denied.

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A New York Probate Lawyer said that, this is a proceeding to vacate a decree of probate and to allow the petitioners to withdraw the waivers of process, consents to probate they executed on May 17, 1999. The petitioners are the decedent’s four adult children, the executor of the estate, opposes the requested relief. The husband is the decedent’s surviving spouse; he and the decedent were married in November 1991. He is not the father of the petitioners.

A New York Will Lawyer said that, on February 20, 2008, the court issued a decision and order wherein the court granted the petitioners’ counsel’s unopposed motion to withdraw as the petitioners’ counsel and stayed the proceedings for 30 days after a copy of the order was served by overnight delivery on the petitioners. A copy of the order was served as directed, and the period of the stay has expired. The petition to vacate the decree granting probate and for other relief has now been submitted for decision.

The decedent died on December 5, 1998 at the age of 57. Her last will and testament dated March 11, 1995 was admitted to probate by decree dated July 29, 1999, and letters testamentary were issued to the husband. The affidavit of subscribing witnesses annexed to the will states that the will was executed under the supervision of an attorney. The decedent left her entire estate to the husband. In the event that he had predeceased the decedent, the decedent bequeathed the estate to the petitioners, per stirpes.

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Decedent died in September 2005 at the age of 93, survived by two nephews, and the issue of a predeceased nephew. The 2005 Will was admitted to probate by decree and letters testamentary thereupon issued to co-executors.

A New York Probate Lawyer said that in August 2006, a legatee of a small bequest discovered that decedent’s testamentary plan had been revised significantly from her penultimate will2 and, further, that decedent’s long-time attorney, had not supervised the 2005 Will’s execution. As decedent’s friend and investment advisor, the legatee had almost daily conversations with decedent and her home attendants in the months preceding execution of the 2005 Will.

A New York Will Lawyer said as he worked on an active trading floor, these telephone calls were recorded. The legatee recalled having had several conversations between March 2005 and May 2005, in the months after decedent had suffered a stroke and preceding execution of the 2005 Will, in which it seemed co-executors were assuming increased control over decedent’s finances and were pressuring decedent to change her will. Legatee requisitioned the tapes of those calls and brought the transcripts to the attention of the other co-executors. The transcripts, including conversations directly with decedent, depict behavior by co-executors that supports an allegation of undue influence.

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In this proceeding for the settlement of the intermediate account of the executors the petition prays construction of provisions of the will which have created nine separate and distinct questions involving its interpretation.

A New York Probate Lawyer said that in Paragraph Third of her will, the testatrix made twenty-seven gifts to individuals and charitable institutions. Each of the bequests was described as consisting of ‘a sum equivalent to of my estate.’

‘It is conceded that as a general rule, absent some provision to the contrary, debts and administration expenses are deducted in computing the value of an estate when a fraction thereof has been bequeathed.

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A New York Probate Lawyer said that, the Government of British Honduras, appearing specially, petitioned this court for permission to appear specially in the contested probate proceeding for the purpose of taking appropriate steps to assert its rights in that proceeding. It alleges that the decedent was domiciled in British Honduras at the time of death, and that the Government has been cited as a party to the probate proceeding in British Honduras ‘as an interested party on the ground that if the decedent were found to have died intestate, then his estate would belong to the Crown as bona vacantia (abandoned property)’. The Government of British Honduras asserts that it has the right to intervene in the probate proceeding in New York because, under the law of the decedent’s domicile, all of the decedent’s property would, in the event of intestacy, vest in the Crown as statutory distributee and heir.

A New York Will Lawyer said that, the petitioner has in effect been granted the right to appear specially and to move to assert its rights, because, the other parties to the proceedings having challenged the facts upon which the petition rested, the court placed the matter on its calendar for hearing. The Government of British Honduras appeared and was given full opportunity to present its claim of interest in this estate.

Long Island Probate Lawyers said the issue in this case is whether the Government of British Honduras has the right to intervene in the probate proceeding in New York because, under the law of the decedent’s domicile, all of the decedent’s property would, in the event of intestacy, vest in the Crown as statutory distributee and heir.

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A New York Probate Lawyer said that, the decedent, a resident of this county, died in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on July 27, 1959. An instrument executed by her in Massachusetts has been submitted for probate. The facts regarding its execution are undisputed. The instrument was written, upon instructions of the decedent, by a friend of forty years standing and signed by the decedent on April 13, 1959 but it was not witnessed. Subsequently and on July 20, 1959 certain additions were written in by another person at the request of the decedent. These consist of a legacy of $1,000 and a direction that all expenses are paid first. These additions appear below the signature of the decedent. On the same day three persons signed as witnesses after the decedent had acknowledged her signature and declared the paper to be her will. Their signatures appear below the aforementioned additions.

A New York Will Lawyer said that, it is alleged in the petition that decedent’s estate consists solely of personal property and that she left no living relatives. The special guardian for unknown distributees has filed objections to the probate of the instrument upon the ground that it was not signed by the decedent at the end thereof. The proponent has moved to strike out the objections and to admit the propounded instrument to probate.

A New York Will Lawyer said the issue in this case is whether the estate of the decedent should be admitted to probate.

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We all want to trust those we love to do the right thing. For some, that blind faith in family and loved ones to do what is right may prove to be detrimental. According to a report by a NY Estate Planning Lawyer, when a will, trust or inheritance is concerned, people get dollar signs in their eyes, so much so that they become irrational in their thinking and in turn, in their behavior. Since money is touted as the most important survival tool in our country, once some people have access to it, they will take it even if it belongs to someone that they have loved and respected all of their lives. 

Such is the case for an 89 year old woman whose grandson was named the trustee of her estate, which included her house, social security checks and a trust fund that had been gifted to her 35 years ago. Within just two weeks of having been awarded the position of trustee, the grandson began removing money out of his grandmother’s accounts and plugging it back into his own, now defunct, carpet and construction businesses. 

The New York Estate Planning Lawyer reports that the elderly woman went from having $105,000 to live on for the rest of her life to losing her house and having her bank account blasted to less than $6000 by her grandson, who was caught after his own mother, the daughter of the elderly woman, realized what he was doing and called authorities. 

Though the money is gone and the grandmother is now living in a small trailer with no money, revealed the New York Estate Planning Lawyer, the woman has forgiven her grandson and is worried that if he goes to jail for his crimes against her then she will never see another penny from him, leaving her worse off than before. In Brooklyn and Manhattan this action could be prosecuted by the authorities. It just goes to show that in matters of financial planning, blood relation is not always a guarantee that your finances will be safe.



If you are concerned with your estate or your inheritance, call a New York Estate Planning Attorney today for guidance and support. Whether you are looking for a beneficiary or wanting to construct a will, a New York Estate Planning Attorney will be there to serve your needs. The law offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has caring New York Probate Lawyers that can help you plan your estate. Our New York Probate Lawyers can help you probate an estate, write a will or set up a trust. We have convenient offices in New York City, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Suffolk and Nassau County. We want to help you through what may be a difficult time with as little problems as possible and offer a free consultation at 1-800-NYNY-LAW (1-800-696-9529). Call us today to take advantage of this free consultation and speak to a New York Probate Lawyer from our firm.

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There is no inheritance tax for 2010, but that will not benefit most of us who plan to live to 2011 and beyond. The inheritance tax may or may not return in some form in 2011 – Congress hasn’t decided yet – but luckily, the gift rules remain pretty much the same, a New York Estate Lawyer reports.

Gifts of up to $13,000 a year per person to any number of people can be passed on without any taxes whatsoever. Married couples who file jointly can double the amount to $26,000. A Gift Tax Return has to be filed for any gifts over that amount.

That doesn’t mean a gift tax is involved. One can grant a million dollars in gifts, above and beyond the yearly $13,000 before the gift tax. Most people will never have to worry about that. There are a number of other exclusions and provisions regarding gifts and estates, which means reading up on IRS regulations is very important to make the most of your money, a New York Estate Lawyer notes. Lawyers in Brooklyn and Long Island are well versed in these new rules.

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