A man filed a motion to withdraw a waiver and consent he did for the legal validation of his cousins will. And, this motion is opposed by the primary representative of the estate and the four charities who are the beneficiaries under certain instruction.
This happened five months after the death of his cousin, he did a waiver and consent; however, an attorney appeared for him a month after, and this is also the return date of the citation in this proceeding, and indicated that he wanted to withdraw his consent for the legal processing of validation of the will. The assets consists of personal property valued more than a million.
The instruction was done when his cousin was about 95 years old. The single page, two-sided tool is a downloadable legal form and does not appear to be attorney supervised. The opposite side of the form shows his shaky and weak signature, and the signature of the two witnesses. One of those witnesses now serves as a primary person appointed to perform the will and formerly served as one of legal guardians. Apparently, the other witness was an aide at the facility where she resided at the time she signed the instruction.
A New York Probate Lawyer said the man served objections to attest on all parties except the guardian, but the objections were not accepted for filing due to his waiver and consent to process the validation of his cousins will. Those proposed objections says that his cousin is lacked of capacity to make a will, the instruction made was not freely and voluntarily done. The signature, the instruction and its publication were obtained by fraud and unjustified influence, and the requirements about the law of appointment of guardian were not complied with at the time of implementation.
In his motion papers, he state that he is legally blind, possesses lower educational attainment and is ignorant of the law. He urges that he never received the letter containing the waiver and consent to attest and affidavit of heirship that was mailed to him by counsel to the primary representative, and that attorney never advised him of various rights or the import of the waiver and consent. He contends that at the time he did the waiver and consent, he was unaware that his mother’s property was a share of his cousins belongings, he lacked any understanding of the procedure or consequences of the legal processing of validation, such as his right to object to the will and his right to counsel, and he did not understand that by executing the waiver and consent, he would forfeit the potential right of his mother’s properties. Queens Probate Lawyers said that based on his conversations with counsel, at the time he received the waiver and consent, he believed that he was signing that document in order to expedite the process.
The primary representative oppose the motion asserting that, upon his receipt of the waiver and consent, the man called to discuss the family tree and the forms he received, and he never advised their attorney that he was blind or that anything was missing from the envelope mailed to him. The letter states that if the man had no objection to the processing of the distribution of the properties, it would expedite the process. Staten Island Probate Lawyers said the representative note that the man executed both the waiver and consent and the affidavit of heirship as requested.
The charities also oppose the motion stating that there is no clear and convincing evidence that the waiver and consent was the result of fraud, overreaching, misrepresentation or misconduct or that there is any other basis for revocation, at the time that the man executed the waiver and consent, he was acting as the legally appointee of his mother’s assets and should have known that the document he done would have a legal and binding effect.
In reply, the man annexes various documents and state that due to his blindness, he follows a strict procedure upon his receipt of documents, which is to scan them into his computer and use a closed circuit television to magnify their contents. As his computer does not contain a scanned citation, he did not receive it, and he only learned of it when his subsequently retained attorney obtained a copy. His attorney stressed that the waiver and consent was obtained through improper overreaching and misrepresentation and, in any event, it should be
suspend for good cause in the interests of justice.
Based on records, in legal processing of validation of will. It may not be admitted unless the court is satisfied that its implementation was valid, even if no interested party files objections to its validity. Thus, where a person who applies for a motion with reasonable expedition seeks to withdraw a waiver and consent to attest, the application may be granted where the petitioner demonstrates some merit to the objection, a reasonable probability of success and the absence of prejudice to the other parties. Furthermore, the courts are more liberal in granting these applications where other parties have already filed objections, or it is apparent that they tend to file objections, or where the application is made very soon after the execution of the waiver and consent.
The proof on the motion and court filings demonstrate that the attest was served by mail on the man, and his waiver and consent was executed, the same date that preliminary letters issued. The court does not find any wrongdoing by the proponents’ counsel in obtaining the waiver and consent. Nonetheless, the letter sent to the man by counsel indicates only that the process would be expedited as a result of his execution of the waiver and consent. In view of the man’s blindness and limited education, and the fact that he was not represented by counsel at the time he did the waiver and consent, the court credits his contention that he failed to fully understand the legal impact. Thereafter, he expeditiously obtained an attorney and sought to withdraw his waiver and consent prior to the admission of the will to verify. Without in any way passing on the ultimate outcome of a will contest, the documents annexed by the man and in court files demonstrate that, at this time, his proposed objections have merit and a reasonable probability of success. The proposed objections are similar or identical to the issues raised by the Public Administrator in the proceeding. As it appears that the Public Administrator will file objections in any event, this also militates in favor of granting the motion, and allowing the interposition of the man’s objections creates no prejudice to the representative and the charities, which are in the same position they were in. Moreover, the court’s paramount concern is to admit only valid wills to attest. Where, as here in a pre-probate context, one interested party as well as another non-interested party expresses genuine concern as to the validity of the instructions and its execution, as demonstrated by the documents submitted, the withdrawal of a waiver and consent to allow the interposition of objections must be permitted.
Accordingly, the motion is granted. The man shall serve and file his objections within 10 days after the entry of the order to be settled here on.
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