Joseph Alexander died November 23, 1975, leaving his adopted son, Ronald Alexander. After the probate of his will, his son filed a petition contesting the amount given to charities as in excess percentage amount allowed by law. Executors were placed to check if the claim was valid, and the courts were asked to determine the effect of the ‘no contest’ clause of the will.
In his will, he gave all his properties, a flat in Switzerland and $25,000 per year to his son. In the event that his son dies before the end of the trust then the remaining amount will be put back to his estate.
Joseph Alexander also included in the will that in his lifetime, he had provided his son loans. He had paid indebtedness acquired by his son from other people. He expressly states in his last will and testament, from what a New York Probate Lawyer gathered, that if his son directly or indirectly oppose the probate of his will, Ronald Alexander will not getting any part of his estate and will only get $1 per annum.
The contest of the charitable bequest, according to the executors had no standing, because he will not receive any pecuniary benefit if the contest was successful. The executors cited the Cairo case where the grandson was expressly disinherited. Although, there was another case that was reconsidered by the Court of Appeals, which was Eckhart, this case is more similar to the Cairo case.
In this case, the will specifically state the loans and payments the testator has made for his son. According to a Nassau County Probate Lawyer, the executors also were pushing the ‘no contest’ clause of the will. The court also does not favor the ‘no contest’ clause. The Court of Appeals has held that the challenge to the validity of an excessive charitable gift cannot result to have a person disinherited. So the filing of the case is not a violation to the terrorem clause.
According to Brooklyn Probate Lawyers, he law still maintains that if the testators wish is expressly to disinherit a relative, then it will be upheld. New York Estate Lawyer said that in this case, Joseph Alexander only explicitly stated that if his son contests the probate, then he will forfeit his share in the will. The son did not contest the probate. In was within the probate that the son expressed his concern on the amount of the bequest to charity. The question is if he will get monetary compensation if the contest is successful. This was determined to be missing. Even if the contest is successful as per the will, his son still gets the fixed amount per annum and the flat in Switzerland.
The law has a different treatment for children born within wedlock and outside wedlock when it comes to claims for support from a deceased parent. Out of wedlock minors are given support in the amount determined by Surrogate court up until the age of 21. This is taken from the deceased parents’ estate. This is typically not greater than what was determined before the parent died as their support. These are not available minors born within wedlock.
Ronald Alexander was not to be disinherited because of the case he filed to have the gift to charity checked as may be more than the half of the estate. He is still entitled to his legacies whatever the outcome of the contest is.
Determining how the ‘no contest’ clause applies in a will contest action can sometimes e tricky. You will need to have a sharp Will Contest Lawyer to assist you for it. Some people may think that contesting a will should not be done, but it is not always the case.
Stephen Bilkis & Associates have a legal team who know that contesting wills can be difficult, let alone contesting wills that have ‘no contest’ clause. They make sure you do not lose anything if the will is contested. If you need assistance, come see us anywhere in New York or Long Island, you can get them at 1-800 NY – NY- LAW. We will give you a free consulation.