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Court Concludes Petitioner Has No Jurisidiction Over Will


This case is being heard in the Surrogate’s Court of New York County. The case is regarding the estate of Marvin G. Connally. The executors of the estate are George H. Ryniker & Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York. The others involved in this case are Jean M. Denis, and Donald T. Mullane who is acting as the special guardian for Mary S. Hicks and the others who are infants.

Case Background

A New York Probate Lawyer said the testator died on the 26th of December in 1960. On the 9th of January a petition for probate was filed in this court. This included two testamentary instruments. The petition stated that the testator lived at 475 Park Avenue in New York City. It also stated that the distributees were his three children.

Jean M. Denis had been married to the testator, but they were divorced. The petitioner did not believe that she was a distributee of the testator. It is shown that $50,000 was given to Jean M. Davis and named her the guardian of the infant son of the testator, Robert M. Connally. A Staten Island Probate Lawyer said that Jean M. Davis was given a paper requesting her appearance in probate. She waived the service of this citation and gave consent for the instruments to be admitted into probate. Her attorney filed an authorized notice of appearance on behalf of the infant, Robert M. Connally. The special guardian in charge of the infant recommended probate and there were no objections to this.

On the 5th of June, 1961, Jean M. Denis as the guardian of Robert M. Connally and individually filed a petition that asked that the probate decree be opened, vacated, and set aside. The basis for this request is that the testator was not a resident of New York County, but resided in Suffolk County. She states that when she gave consent she did not realize that probate was being held in New York County and this is why she did not come forward with these facts at that point.

Court Discussion and Decision

In reviewing the facts of the case the court is dismissing the petition made by Jean M. Denis to have the probate opened, vacated, and set aside. In the question of jurisdiction over the case, there is no evidence to support these claims. The probate is already being handled and there is no reason to vacate the proceedings.

The reason that the court is dismissing the petition is because Ms. Denis is not a ditributee of the testator. For this reason she has no position to oppose anything that is in the will. Additionally, as a legatee, it is in her benefit to have the will sustained.

The argument made by the plaintiff is that the decedent was not a resident of New York County at the time of his death. However, Queens Probate Lawyers said there is nothing that is considered in the probate where this would come into issue. There have been no arguments in probate and no dissatisfaction with the way the case has been handled. There is ultimately no reason for vacating the original decree made in this particular case.

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