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Court Dicusses How a Will must be Executed


This is a case being heard in the Surrogates Court of the State of New York in Nassau County. The matter before the court deals with the last will and testament of Robert Cohen, who is deceased. This is a contested probate proceeding. The petitioner, Beatrice Cohen has moved for an order to dismiss the objections to probate that were filed by Meryl Kovit and for a summary judgment in the matter to be granted. She also moves to admit to probate the last will and testament of Robert Cohen. The motion is opposed by Ms. Kovit.

Case Background

The decedent, Robert Cohen passed away on the 26th of December, 2007. He left behind a will that was dated the 28th of October, 2002. Survivors of Mr. Cohen include his wife, who is the petitioner in the case, and a daughter from a previous marriage who is the objectant of the case. The will names the petitioner as the executor of the will and the decedent’s attorney John C. Sullivan as the alternative executor.

A New York Probate Lawyer said the terms of the will left the residuary estate to the petitioner if she outlived him. The will states that the residuary estate is to be the petitioners absolutely with the exclusion of any of his children. However, if the petitioner had not outlived the decedent the residuary estate was bequeathed to his children Meryl Kovit, Jonathon Horn, and Jacqueline Horn. Jonathon and Jacqueline are the children of the petitioner. The estate was left in equal parts to all three of the children.

Case Facts

The petitioner and the decedent were married in November of 1982. The will was drafted by John Sullivan in 1993. Manhattan Probate Lawyers said a mirror will was drafted by Mr. Sullivan for Beatrice at the same time. In 2002, the couple went to the Washington Mutual Bank and executed new wills. An IRA beneficiary change form was executed by each of them. The decedent made Beatrice the primary beneficiary and the children contingent beneficiaries. Beatrice made Robert the primary beneficiary and the children the contingent beneficiaries.

Case Discussion and Decision

The testimony of the attesting witnesses is unclear about what when on the day the will was executed. There is no record that the procedures that were used during the execution ceremony were conducted within the requirements of the law. For this reason a summary judgment for the issue cannot be granted.

There are issues of fact in the case regarding the requirements of how a will must be executed in order to satisfy the court as to its genuineness. For this reason, the court is required to honor the wishes of the testator who memorializes in writing, with the help of an attorney, a testamentary scheme that is designed to carryout out the intention of the testator. For this reason, the execution ceremony must be fully examined. A New York City Probate Lawyers said the conference for the case will be scheduled.

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