Articles Posted in Westchester County

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A New York Probate Lawyer said that a probate proceeding was brought by the Petitioner for the probate of a lost will purportedly executed by her decedent brother.

A New York Will Lawyer said that the decedent died in September 2005. A will executed on in 2003, which provided for his wife, and his three children was admitted to probate by this court in 2005. The petitioner in this proceeding seeks to admit a later instrument to probate as a lost will and revoke the earlier will’s probate decree. The allegations contained in the petition may be summarized as follows. Before he died, in 2005, decedent sought the services of his long-time attorney to change the 2003 Will in light of changing circumstances with his wife, specifically her commencement of divorce proceedings against the decedent. As a result of his discussions with the lawyer, the decedent had a new will prepared, the final version of which was completed and then executed by decedent in August 2005.

The terms of the 2005 will differ significantly from the terms of the 2003 Will. The 2005 Will reduced the wife’s share to her elective share, it left nothing to the decedent’s two children and the terms of an option to purchase the decedent’s businesses granted to decedent’s son which existed under the 2003 Will as well, were much less favorable to him under the 2005 Will. Also, the 2003 Will provides for a single executor, while the 2005 Will provides for three executors, and petitioner. The petitioner in this lost will proceeding is the decedent’s sister. Relevant to this motion is the nature of the relationship the decedent had with an individual.

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In this Probate action, a daughter of the decedent filed a motion to stay the entry of a decree admitting the propounded instrument to probate; for an extension of time to file objections; for leave to examine the proponent and for a construction of the effect of a no-contest clause contained in the instrument offered for probate.

A New York Probate Lawyer said that the instrument offered for probate contains a clause revoking any bequest to any beneficiary who opposed probate of the will, participated in actions to set aside or invalidate any of its provisions or who aided another in doing so. The movant requests that prior to a determination of her application to examine the proponent, the court construe the clause and determine whether the examination would be in violation of the no-contest clause. The court may not construe an instrument prior to its admission to probate as a valid will. While there may be a construction of a will in a probate proceeding, this must come only after probate has been decreed for the reason that until the instrument has been probated, there is nothing before the court to be construed. Although the court cannot reach a construction of the specific clause of the proposed instrument it may determine whether the examination of the proponent amounts to conduct permissible under the public policy declaration in EPTL 3–3.5 as conduct not in violation of any no-contest clause.

A New York Will Lawyer said aso called In terrorem or no-contest clause is operative according to its terms subject to the provisions which spell out with particularity the conduct by the beneficiary or other person which does not, as a matter of substantive law, constitute a breach of a no-contest condition in a will occasioning a forfeiture of a benefit under the will.

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This is a motion to dismiss a petition for original probate for lack of jurisdiction, both as a matter of law in the exercise of the court’s discretion.

A New York Probate Lawyer said that decedent died in New Hampshire. Decedent was a non-resident of New York. The proponent-executrix, decedent’s widow, contends that decedent was and that she is a domiciliary of Vermont and that decedent was a citizen of the United States. The moving party, decedent’s daughter, contends that decedent was a domiciliary of Zurich, Switzerland and that he had dual nationality being a citizen both of the United States and of Switzerland. The moving party is herself a domiciliary of Spain.

A New York Will Lawyer is claimed that 90% of the assets of the estate are in a custody account in New York. There are some assets both in Switzerland and in Vermont including a house in Vermont and an apartment in Zurich. The propounded will was executed in New York and contains a clause directing that the construction of the will and the administration of the estate shall be governed by the laws of the State of New York. Two of the three subscribing witnesses to the will were stated in the will to be residents of New York and the third a resident of New Jersey. The substituted executors named in the will are apparently residents of New York. So far as appears, no probate proceeding or other proceeding for the administration of decedent’s estate is pending in Switzerland or Vermont or anywhere but in New York.

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A New York Probate Lawyer said that, the decedent was a citizen of the United States, domiciled in Mexico City, who possessed substantial assets in New York and in Mexico. On May 14, 1965 she executed a will in New York which disposed of all of her property ‘wheresoever’s situate’, directed that, regardless of her domicile at death, her will be offered for probate in New York County, that the administration of her estate be conducted subject to the jurisdiction of this court, and that her will and all dispositions therein be construed and regulated by the laws of the State of New York. The residuary estate administration was bequeathed in equal shares to two friends, one of whom resided in Brooklyn and the other in El Paso, Texas. The latter is the objectant here.

A New York Will Lawyer said that, on January 20, 1966–approximately eight months after the execution of her will in New York–the decedent executed a notarial will in Mexico City. An English translation of the Spanish text is incorporated in the probate decree of this court. The will contains several general legacies expressed in Mexican currency and ‘for the remainder of her estate (the testatrix) institutes as her sole heirs in equal one-third shares’ three individuals, all residents of Mexico City. This instrument made no mention of the New York will and no reference at all to estate taxes. It declares that ‘the testamentary provisions contained in this instrument shall apply only to the property or money which the testatrix has in the Mexican Republic’, and it appoints Mexican executors. A second notarial will was executed in Mexico on April 25, 1966. It is actually a codicil to the January will, revoking one general legacy and also the institution of one of the three as an heir, leaving the other two persons ‘as the sole heiresses in equal parts.’ This instrument also is silent with respect to estate taxes and their impact.

A Westchester County Probate Lawyer said that, the decedent died in Mexico on April 22, 1967. Her New York will and the two notarial instruments were offered for probate in this court. Preliminary letters testamentary were issued to the executor named in the New York will on June 2, 1967. By decree dated June 5, 1968 this court found that the will dated May 14, 1965 had been duly executed, that the instruments in the Spanish language dated January 20, 1966 and April 25, 1966 had been duly established as testamentary instruments in accordance with the laws of Mexico, and that the English translations offered for probate were true translations of the Spanish original. A New York Probate Lawyer said that, it decreed that the three paper writings be admitted to probate ‘as together constituting the last will and testament of the said Bessie Owen, deceased. Letters testamentary were directed to issue to Bankers Trust Company, the executor named in the New York will, ‘provided that such letters testamentary, and the authority, responsibility and accountability of Bankers Trust Company thereunder, shall not extend to property, money or matters administered in Mexico but shall otherwise be unlimited.’ Such letters were issued on June 7, 1968.

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A New York Probate Lawyer said that, the administrator of the estate of the decedent, and petitioner in a turnover proceeding against respondent Companies, and law firm counsel to the Public Administrator of the County of New York, now seeks summary judgment and treble damages. Respondent cross-moves for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the turnover petition and revocation of petitioner’s letters of estate administration.

A New York Will Lawyer said that, the decedent, a domiciliary of Brazil, died February 11, 2000, survived by no known distributee. On June 27, 2002, the administrator of the estate proffered decedent’s one-page handwritten will dated July 25, 1998. The will bequeaths decedent’s “holdings at the Citibank in New York” to him. During the pendency of the administrator’s probate proceeding, respondent company obtained probate in Brazil of a later will, dated March 12, 1999. On March 11, 2003, the Brazilian State of Bahia, Judiciary Power, 1st Family, Successions & Orphans Court appointed respondent the executor of decedent’s March 12, 1999 will. Article FIRST (of a certified translation of a court certified copy) of that later will provides: “That this was the only and exclusive testament, and any previous act was hereby revoked.”

Westchester County Probate Lawyers said that, thereafter, CIS, presented with certified translations of: (1) decedent’s death certificate; (2) the March 11, 2003 certificate issued by the Brazilian State of Bahia, Judiciary Power, 1st Family, Successions & Orphans Court to respondent, as executor of decedent’s March 12, 1999 will; and (3) the March 12, 1999 will itself, transferred decedent’s investment account, which the administrator estimates at $70,000 to the respondent, as executor of decedent’s will.

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Chardbourne and Parke, LLP represented the people who are involved in a Will left by Renate Hoffman, deceased. The Will was executed by Hoffman in 1988 and named the German National Church as primary beneficiary of his estate. According to reports that reached a New York Estate Administration lawyer, this 1988 Will was strongly objected and challenged by Robert Warshaw and Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A. who were the primary executors of a prior Will of Hoffman which was executed in 1972. This became a long and extensive trial in which the two parties, Chardbourne and Park as well as Warshaw and Chase Manhattan entered in to an agreement in which the German Catholic Church received a considerable sum of $3 million dollars. In addition to this hefty settlement, the church will also receive a half-interest in a trust from the proceeds of the remainder of the estate.

According to further report given to a New York Litigation attorney, Chardbourne and Parke filed a case against Warshaw and Chase Manhattan Bank because of unpaid legal fees when the former performed its legal duties during the German Catholic Church settlement. Unfortunately their case did not progress in court. The court ruled in favour of the defendants, Warshaw and Chase Manhattan. In 2001 however, Chardbourne and Parke filed for an appeal of the previous decision by the court. Warshaw and Chase Manhattan argued that the 1988 Will was not the correct one to be administered and that Chardbourne has acted knowingly on their own. It was also noted by Warshaw and Manhattan that there was further wrong doing on the part of Chardbourne and Parke, LPP.

The trial continued on and arguments were presented regarding the 1988 Will’s validity which was also again brought up. This is due to the fact that Warshaw and Chase Manhattan Bank refused to grant Chardbourne and Parke the legal or attorney’s fees. Warshaw and Chase’s argument was that the 1988 Will was only illegal but that Chardbourne and Park was already aware of this but still continued on with its execution. But based on reports gathered by a New York Probate lawyer, when Warshaw and Chase Manhattan Bank entered into an agreement and settlement with Chardbourne and Parke, LLP the latter already impliedly recognized the validity of the Will and the contract agreement both parties entered into. Still according to the court, Warshaw and Chase Manhattan allowed a considerable amount of money be given to the primary beneficiary of the 1988 Will which was the German Catholic Church with a half interest on trust as part of the estate. This was considered by the court as more than enough evidence that both parties agreed on the validity of the Will in question. The court also noted that there is no legal cause to deny Chardbourne and Parke, LLP the legal fees for their services rendered.

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Barbara Fairbairn, primary beneficiary and second wife of Howard Fairbairn was named primary executor of all his estates in June 1997. But according to New York Will Contest lawyer, Howard’s son, Richard Fairbairn by previous marriage filed an objection on the last will and testament of his father claiming Barbara exercised excessive and unlawful influence on his father and that the Will was executed with fraud. He filed an objection to his father’s will because he believed that Barbara was not the rightful person to execute or manage his father’s properties and other cash and assets. Unfortunately no such evidence was found by the court and Barbara was still and remained to be the sole executor of Howard Fairbairn’s will.

However, Barbara went on and continued filing a case against Howard’s daughter, Carolyn Desilva. Barbara claimed that Carolyn sent two letters Richard Fairbairn’s attorney and that both letters contained false accusations about her personality as well as her family’s reputation. The said letters were also sent to court as part of the evidence against Carolyn. According to reports, Barbara claimed that Carolyn was objecting to Barbara’s inheritance and the letters were her way to contest her father’s will. It was noted that Barbara had already filed a previous case against Carolyn to remove her from participating in her father’s estate. The court ruled in favour of Carolyn saying that there was no sufficient evidence or any cause to bar Carolyn from such participation. That is why Barbara again filed another case, still pursuing to remove Carolyn from her father’s will and testament. Barbara further claimed that Carolyn and Richard conspired against her to remove her from being the executor of their father’s estate. However, Barbara’s only evidence was the letters Carolyn wrote and sent to Richard’s attorney.

Carolyn on the other hand said that she only wrote those letters because she was asked by Richard Fairbairn’s attorney for some background information on Barbara and that those letters were never meant to hurt anybody or discredit anybody from anything. The court also said that it was also true that Carolyn was not properly informed that her personal letters were going to be admitted as evidence against her in the court of law. A New York Estate Administration lawyer was also informed that Carolyn even signed a waiver and consent that her father’s will was valid and that Barbara’s title as primary executor or beneficiary of his estate of properties were all executed legally and lawfully. These documents signed by Carolyn with regards to her father’s estate and also with regards to her father’s chosen executor or beneficiary only made Carolyn’s defence stronger, strong enough to dismiss Barbara’s appeal to remove her from her father father’s last will. Cases like this are handled in a similar way in Queens and Westchester County.

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