Lillian Sandow had two wills. One dated July 16, 1947 which was the one presented to the court for probate, and the other one was dated February 16, 1945. In the February 16, 1945 will, there were two beneficiaries declared as sole legatees. They were contending the July 16, 1947 will as a forgery. They are saying that the last three pages of the will which had the signature were authentic, and the first four pages were substituted.
According to a New York Probate Lawyer, the first four pages are the ones that contained the legacies and the appointment of the executrix. The last three pages of the signature of Ms. Sandow, the witnesses’ signature and the powers of attorney. They cited this and much on a previous case of Hinderson’s will and Teller’s will. In both these cases, the mere allegation of fraud caused the will to be vacated. In these cases though, the court had established that the fraud was in stopping the filing of any contest against the will. It was not an attack on the will itself. They also failed to notice that in both cases, the fraud was established in the preliminary hearing.
The petitioners claim there was no fraud in the withholding of the earlier will, and allegedly they found the earlier will in the office of a lawyer, who was not connected, in any way, to the parties. They also said that they questioned the authenticity of the will the same night that it was read and one consulted an attorney about it. He was advised that not being a beneficiary without an earlier will that shows he was part of is not going to be accepted by the court. A Manhattan Probate Lawyer mentioned that it was only after the older will was found that they felt they had a stand to contest the will says a New. They contest does not name the perpetrators of the forgery, but the words are directed to the executrix and her attorney as she is the sole beneficiary of the will.
The case was unclear and unconvincing. They had a witness testify that the ink in the last three pages was different from the first four but the same typewriter was used for all pages, and the paper used was also the same. The typist was also interviewed, and she said she used two kinds of typing styles, which was also one of the things they were questioning. According to the expert, it a standard for that stenographer to use both techniques in typing documents. They further interviewed the attorney that testified as to how the will was prepared and kept. They also asked two witnesses who had a conversation with the testator about her will, but they also indicated that they were in no position to authenticate if that was the same will or not.
According to a Queens Probate Lawyer, they were not able to show a substantial basis for contesting the will, which was the requirement for this type of attack on a will. Their petition was just based on a suspicion that was also lost after the attorney and the stenographer testified. They were insisting on a trial by jury for the case, but their case lacks the merit that the trial requires. They were not able to show a degree of probability for a well-founded claim. The case was dismissed by the Appellate Court, and the will was not vacated.
We often meet challenges when the will are in our favor and a party feels like they did not get their due. Skilled legal counsel are the ones that make sure that what is in the will are the ones applied, and we get what we should have. They go through the proceedings to make sure your side is well represented.
In dealing with will contests, Stephen Bilkis & Associates take everything to heart when it comes to their client’s cases. They make sure they check and double check on the letters of the law to protect your side, and you get your part of the estate. They give free consultations when you call them at 1-800 NY – NY- LAW.