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Court Decides Will Contest


A woman died and signed a will two days prior to her death. The will state that she left her entire estate to one man. But, she did have another will dated many years prior to her death. It states that she left her assets to her brother and sister, unfortunately they did died already, and it says if they died partial of the assets will be preceded to one of the Catholic Congregation and the remainder to her cousin and his wife.

The man filed a civil case to validate the earlier will, to which the other heirs from another will filed an objection. The eight day trial resulted on a denial to the motion, by which the jury found that the deceased person doesn’t have the legal ability to make a will and it was only done by influence. The man requests a higher court to review the lower court decision and again denied. The heirs of the late will filed a petition to legally validate it. They issued temporary letters and no objection has been filed. And the other man from earlier will seeks leave to file objections to the late will, a stay to pending appeal and an order requiring the temporary administrator to file a bond pending appeal.

A New York Probate Lawyer said that based on records, in order to file objections, the prospective objector must have an interest in the properties that would be adversely affected by the admission of the will to attest. The man argues that he has standing because he has an interest in the properties and would be adversely affected by validation of the late will. And, as an appellant, he has contingent interest in the properties. However, this is not sufficient to file objections. The adverse consequences must be the direct result from the admission of the will to validate. It is clear that the man is not adversely affected by the validation of the late will. The only ground on which he can objects to the validation of the will is that there is a valid later will, which is the earlier will. However, the argument has already been determined in the prior trial and been rejected. He also argues that the court should permit him to intervene under its discretion to permit any party with a fair or slightly possible financial interest to intervene.

He also asks that the court to remain in the validation proceeding until his appeal is heard and determined. The affirmation of his attorney states that no prior application for this relief has been made. However, in fact, his application for a stay twice has been denied each time. His attorney insists that there was no prior application, arguing that the prior applications were made in a prior proceeding. The instant motion for a stay pending the determination of his appeal is denied.

Finally, he requests that the court require the heirs’ for the late will to file a bond. He argues that the other heirs were a resident of Florida. He argues that If their will is admitted to validate there will be nothing to prohibit them from transferring the assets to himself and his wife. He state that he will suffer prejudice if his appeal is successful and the assets will already have been distributed.

The other heir’s cross-moves for sanctions. Suffolk County Probate Lawyers said that the court provides with the discretion in any civil action or proceeding to award costs, in the form of reimbursement for actual expenses and reasonable attorney’s fees, resulting from frivolous conduct or financial sanctions upon either the party or counsel.

In the instant case, the motion is not only playful but in bad faith. The attorney has affirmed that there was no prior motion for a stay. When questioned, he attempted to argue that because the instant validation proceeding was a new proceeding; there technically was no prior motion for a stay. This attempt to deceive the court ignored the fact that the man moved to stay all proceedings (including the projected proceeding to probate the prior will) in this court and the Appellate Division, without success. Such disingenuousness by an attorney, who is an officer of the court, is evidence of bad faith in bringing the motion.

Based on the above, Nassau County Probate Lawyers said the attorney of the earlier will is sanctioned, payable to the Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection. As to that part of the cross-motion which asks that reasonable attorneys fees for the attorney for proponent be assessed against him.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its legal team will help you to know your rights and the rights of your love ones.

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