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Petitioner Seeks Repayment of Debt


This matter deals with a petition from A.S. The petitioner is attempting to prove that a debt that is due to him by W. S., who is deceased. This matter is being heard before the Surrogates Court located in Queens County.

Case Background

Josephine and William Schweizer executed a joint and mutual will in 1938. In the will William left his entire estate to Josephine upon his passing and in her will Josephine left her entire estate to William upon her passing. Upon the death of the final survivor of the estate the remainder of the estate, excluding specific bequests, was to be left to their two grandchildren, divided equally among them upon them reaching the age of 25.

Josephine passed away in 1948 and the joint and mutual will was admitted for probate. In 1951, William executed another will. A New York Probate Lawyer said in this will, the grandchildren received a substantially smaller portion of the estate when compared to what they would have received under the joint will. This diminishment of their share of the estate came from William now leaving the bulk of his estate to his nephew Albert Schweizer. Under the new will, Albert was appointed as the sole executor and trustee of William’s estate. William passed away in 1957 at the age of 87. His will was admitted for probate during the same year.

In 1958, the grandchildren of William started an action in the Supreme Court of Suffolk County for specific performance of the contract between their grandparents which they alleged was embodied in the joint and mutual will of their grandparents. New York City Probate Lawyers said the Supreme Court held that the joint and mutual will contractually bound each of the parties to not revoke that will and Albert, who was the executor and trustee as well as the beneficiary of William’s estate, was instructed to perform the actions as stated by the joint will.

Albert now states that a debt is owed to him from William’s estate in the amount of $35,000 for an oral contract made between him and the decedent. Albert requests that the court determine a reasonable value of the services he provided to William from the first of July in 1951 through the 21st of August, 1957, the date of Williams’s death.

Case Discussion and Decision

During the time frame in question, William had requested that Albert help him take care of the properties that he currently owned and in return he would leave the bulk of his estate to him. This agreement was made in the presence of Albert’s wife, the only witness to this agreement. However, it must be taken into account the fact that William felt that the role that Albert played in helping him with his properties was worth a large share of his estate.

When determining the amount owed to Albert under these circumstances, Bronx Probate Lawyers said the court must calculate the amount of money Albert would have earned if he had continued with his career as a butcher. It is determined that a fair amount for the services provided by Albert to William is the amount of $15,000.

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