Articles Posted in Nassau

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In a probate proceeding, Respondent appeals from so much of an order of the Surrogate’s Court, dated April 13, 2005, as, upon its application to fix an attorney’s fee, fixed its fee at the principal sum of $109,620, inclusive of reimbursement of a handwriting expert’s fee of $60,884, and directed the petitioner to refund to Plaintiff the sum of $25,391, and the latter cross-appeals from so much of the same order as partially dismissed her counterclaim, in effect, to reduce the sum owed as reimbursement to the petitioner for the handwriting expert’s fee.The order is modified, on the law and as a matter of discretion, by (1) deleting the provision thereof awarding the petitioner attorney and expert fees in the sum of $109,620 and substituting therefor a provision awarding the petitioner attorney and expert fees in the sum of $58,736, and (2) deleting the provision thereof directing the petitioner to reimburse the respondent the sum of $25,391, and substituting therefor a provision directing the petitioner to reimburse the respondent the sum of $76,275; as so modified, the order is affirmed insofar as appealed and cross-appealed from, without costs or disbursements.

It is settled that the determination of a reasonable attorney’s fee in a matter concerning an estate lies within the sound discretion of the Surrogate’s Court. Where, as here, a dispute arises over the terms of a retainer agreement, the responsibility of interpreting the agreement rests with the Surrogate’s Court. In cases of doubt and ambiguity, an agreement between a client and the attorney must be construed most favorably to the client. Here, the Surrogate’s Court properly construed the subject retainer agreement between the petitioner and the respondent.

However, Respondent is correct that the amount of $60,884 which was included in the principal sum awarded to her as reimbursement for the handwriting expert’s fee was excessive and unreasonable. In our opinion, the appropriate and reasonable amount for the services of the handwriting expert under the facts and circumstances of this case should have been $10,000. Thus, the total award to her should have been $58,736. Since it has already paid $135,011 to respondent, she is entitled to be reimbursed the sum of $76,275.

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On March 12, 1992, Louis Rosen died in a mental facility in California, allegedly leaving behind his entire estate to Warren Silverman as his primary beneficiary. According to reports that reached New York Contest Will lawyer, the last will that was left by Rosen was written during the time when he was already determined to be mentally ill. This means that the Will naming Warren to be the primary beneficiary of Rosen’s estate is invalid according to existing laws. Also, according to the evidences presented at court by the other surviving relatives of Rosen, Warren and Warren’s mother Miriam exerted excessive influence to the deceased making them the only people who had access to Rosen’s financial resources four years before he died.

Four years before Rosen died, Miriam already moved into Rosen’s apartment and took care of everything for him, including his financial affairs. This was confirmed by Rosen’s accountant because he claimed he personally saw Miriam “bossing” Rosen around. He also claimed that Miriam had access and even had control over Rosen’s bank account including his personal checks. This is one of the reasons why Rosen’s other relatives have filed a case against Warren saying that the only reason why Rosen had named him primary executor and beneficiary of all his estate was because of the influence of his mother Miriam over Rosen at the time Rosen was already mentally unstable.

The court also believed, upon seeing the evidences presented that Rosen was indeed under no mental condition to knowingly decide for himself anymore. Reports that reached a New York Estate Attorney that there are several accounts when Rosen was found lost and only in his underwear by the local police. The last time they were able to find him was in 1990 where he was taken to a nearby hospital for treatments. Friends and relatives also noticed the changes in Rosen’s behaviour, saying he was already incapable to keeping his personal hygiene. It was actually during this time when Miriam moved in and took care of everything for Rosen. It was also during this time, according to New York Estate lawyer when Rosen made deposits, supposedly gifts to Miriam’s children amounting to almost $10,000 each. After that, he allegedly made a transfer of a staggering $1.5 million to Warren and Miriam. These supposedly cash gifts and other properties left by Rosen to Warren are what the other relatives of Rosen are now objecting to.

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The late Anna Nicole Smith brought democrats and republicans together in her historical and controversial lawsuit, claims a New York City Probate Lawyer.

Smith had been married to billionaire J. Howard Marshall II for less than a year when he died. She claimed that he had promised her millions of dollars even though reports show he had cut the star out of his Will.

Smith reportedly tried to use her bankruptcy claim to over ride her late husband’s will and went on to claim that his son had manipulated the situation so he and the rest of the family would receive more money.

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