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Court Discusses Kinship Hearing


This is a motion after a kinship hearing, holding that the entire distributable estate of a deceased woman should be deposited with one person. The complainant seeks to leave to present additional testimony.

A New York Probate Lawyer said the request for the alternative relief of reopening the hearing appears to present a case of first impression under the attorney-client privilege. The complainant contends that it is permissible for an attorney to testify about history statements made by the deceased woman to him when she consulted him for the purpose of preparing a last will. It is conceded that the consultation did not result in any last will being completed. Subsequently, an objection to the aforesaid offered testimony was sustained at the trial. The complainant’s position is that since the attorney is a disinterested witness, who is willing to testify about matters which will not reveal information of a confidential nature, the attorney-client privilege should not be utilized to seal his lips.

A New York Will Lawyer said sources revealed that the attorney-client privilege is the oldest of the privileges currently recognized.

A Staten Island Probate Lawyer said in the case, the offered testimony of the attorney clearly relates to conversations made to him in his professional capacity. It is not contended that the deceased woman made the statements in the presence of any third party or that she directed the attorney to communicate the information to any third party.

As a result, the court remains to its original decision.

Another related case was presented in court and with this probate proceeding, the proposed last will gives one-half of the residuary estate and a legacy of $5,000.00 to the attorney-draftsman. The draftsman is also nominated as administrator of the holdings. The aforementioned last will is executed ten years before the owner died at the age of 81 years. Even if the draftsman is one of the deceased’s successors, he would only receive one-tenth of the assets if the deceased had died intestate because the deceased’s successor are his four sisters and two nephews, including the draftsman, who are the sons of the predeceased sister.

A Staten Island Probate Lawyer said based on records, the law is well settled that undue influence may be inferred on the part of an attorney who drafts a will in which the same attorney appears as a beneficiary of it.

Consequently, the court shall not embark upon any time-consuming unilateral inquiry as to the propriety of the inheritance in those assets where all of the parties adversely affected by it are not under any legal disability and have made an informed decision not to pursue the validity of the inheritance.

Subsequently, Queens Probate Lawyers said in the matter where all of the parties have made an informed decision not to contest the inheritance and the uncontroverted statements of fact set forth in the affidavit are sufficient to satisfy any inference of undue influence that might otherwise be drawn, the will, including the inheritance to the attorney, shall be admitted to probate without any additional inquiry and without rendering an opinion.

Further, since the attorney participated in the events which resulted in there being an attorney-drafter-beneficiary, it is appropriate for the attorney to bear the costs, legal or otherwise, incidental to obtain the informed decision of all parties and the required affidavit.

Certainly, in those cases where a party adversely affected by a legacy is under a legal disability, a guardian shall be appointed who shall have the duty to fully explore and, if warranted, litigate whether the situation which resulted in the inheritance render it in any way invalid.

In the instant matter, the attorney has obtained informed consents from all of the required parties, filed an affidavit explaining the situation surrounding the inheritance and established that the last will is otherwise entitled to be admitted for validation.

When you are assigned as an administrator of your parent’s estate, you can seek legal assistance from the Bronx County Estate Lawyer or Bronx County Estate Administration Attorney. But if your parent’s last will is being contested by someone, you can ask the help of the Bronx County Will Contest Lawyer at Stephen Bilkis and Associates.

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