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Court Decides Jurisdiction Issue


This is a case being heard in the Second Department, Appellate Division, of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. In this case the objectants are appealing a decree made in the Surrogate’s Court of Queens County. A New York Probate Lawyer said the decree was made on the 9th of September, 1975 and adjudged that the decedent died as a resident of Queens County. A will was admitted to the court for probate and letters of testamentary were provided to the people named in the will as executors of the estate.

Case Background

The decedent, was the successful owner of a business complex that manufactured plastic products for the school stationery industry. The business was run in the city of Flushing located in Queens County. In 1965, he had one of his corporations rent an apartment for him to use in Miami Beach. He used the apartment from January of 1966 through 1969. When the lease for the apartment was made the decedent was living in a penthouse apartment located in Manhattan. He had created an apartment out of an upper space of one of his business buildings for convenience. He would stay in that apartment from time to time as well.

In 1966, he married a French citizen residing in the United States. The record of where they lived immediately after they were married is unclear. However, it is quite clear that they did not live in the apartment located in Flushing. There is evidence that they lived in the Florida apartment for some time until they moved to France in May of 1969.

In August of 1969, the decedent contracted to sell his shares in the corporation. He sold his shares to his partner in the sum of $1,115,000. This was to be paid in installments over a six year time period. Nassau County Probate Lawyers said that during the closing it is noted that the corporation owned an apartment in Flushing, New York. This apartment was furnished and lived in by decedent. The decedent stated an interest in keeping the apartment as a place to stay when he was visiting New York.

In 1970, while visiting New York, the decedent executed a will that states that he is a resident of New York, New York, and further goes on to state that the will shall be probated in the state of New York.

Court Discussion and Decision

Once the decedent sold his share of the business, he and his wife lived in an expansive estate in France. A Staten Island Probate Lawyer said that while he visited New York and paid taxes within the United States, it is fairly evident that the decedent had chosen to reside in France for the last part of his life.

For this reason it is determined that the decedent died a domiciliary of France. The decree is reversed as appealed from and a bill of costs is served jointly to the appellants. This is payable from the estate. The petition for probate is hereby dismissed.

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