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Family Questions Mental Capacity of Decedent


On this contested probate proceeding, the guardian for the infant beneficiaries seeks for authorization to retain a medical expert to be paid from the assets’ proceeds.

It was initiated when a man died at the age of 88 and he was survived with seven children and two grandchildren. Afterwards, a man was appointed as the guardian for infant grandchildren of the deceased. Separate objections have been filed by the deceased children and the guardian on behalf of his charges. Based on records, the gross estate is estimated between $26 million and $35 million, consisting primarily of silver holdings, a yacht, farmland and real properties in New York and Connecticut.

Consequently, the proposed will was completed three weeks before the man died from lung cancer. It is offered for validation by the attorney-drafter. Under the proposed will, the deceased made pre-residuary inheritance of specific property, his interest in a corporation to some of his children, devised real property to one child, made monetary reward to his caretakers and disposed of his residuary estate to one of the charitable foundation he established in 1974.

The proposed will departs markedly from four prior wills under which the deceased made pre-residuary rewards to his caretakers and disposed of his estate to his children and grandchildren. The children find it mysterious that their father would depart from his testamentary plan, claiming that their relationship with him was at all times close and devoted.

The children and the guardian allege that at the time that the deceased signed the proposed will he was lacked of the requisite capacity to make a will. They contend that the man has suffered from insane delusions caused or exacerbated by his abuse of prescription steroids. A New York Probate Lawyer said such abuse, coupled with deceased’s advanced cancer, ongoing aggressive chemotherapy treatments and recent surgery, impaired his capacity to make a will.

In detailed objections, the children allege that during the final months of his life the deceased man became delusional believing that he was a central figure in the struggles with the Middle East. The deceased asserted and told his psychologist that he was going to trade his life for Osama Bin Laden’s and save the world by becoming a target for a terrorist attack. The children also assert that the deceased’s home care attendants and the charitable foundation’s employees also became alarmed by his erratic and aggressive behavior.

Westchester County Probate Lawyers said the guardian refers to interviews with the deceased’s home care attendants, employees and family members as confirmation for his filing for objections to validate the will. He considers the retention of a medical expert essential to establish that the deceased’s lack of capacity or the suffering from insane delusions.

The professor has written extensively on the subject of steroid dementia syndrome and is considered an expert on the behavioral effects of steroid use which the deceased is alleged to have abused. The guardian seeks an award of $40,000 to retain the doctor for an initial consultation and review of the deceased’s medical records. The guardian has not yet obtained a precise statement of the time that the doctor will require, but estimates it will take up to 100 hours. The doctor charges between $400 and $450 per hour.

The proponent opposes the request on the grounds that there is no precedent for such relief and that the grant of the application would be inequitable inasmuch as the children may benefit from the expert’s advice.

Consequently, the application is granted. Suffolk County Probate Lawyers said the guardian is also authorized to retain an expert for purposes of reviewing the deceased’s medical records and to consult with the guardian concerning the findings. The guardian shall obtain an estimate from the expert of the time required for such services. Upon receipt, the guardian shall settle an order providing for payment to the expert in the estimated amount.

If you have doubts about the last will and testament of your parent or someone closely related to you, you can seek assistance of the Kings County Probate Attorneys. If you want to be sure and feel secured about the legalities of your bequests, ask from the Kings County Estate Attorneys or Kings County Estate Administration Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates so that they can provide you enough understanding and legal guidance.

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