An Objectant seeking to block a will’s admission to probate learned the hard way that there is nothing easy about doing this. The Appellate Division, Third Department held in In Re Doody 912 N.Y.S.2d 792(A.D. 3 Dept. 2010) that upon the petitioner making out a prima facie case for valid execution, conclusory allegations were not enough to raise a triable issue of undue influence or fraud.Continue Reading Conclusory Statements Are Not Sufficient To Raise An Issue Of Fact As To A Will’s Validity

Bronx County Surrogate Lee Holzman, in a case of first impression, has found that a decedent’s posthumous non-marital son was entitled to posthumous DNA testing to determine his standing as a potential distributee of his late father. This decision on a motion in the Estate of Jermaine Michael Williams was rendered on December 3rd and was also reported in today’s New York Post appears to be the first time a request for posthumous testing was made on behalf of a posthumous child.Continue Reading DNA Test Ordered By Surrogate In Case Of First Impression

Recently, your faithful lawblogger attended a seminar at the local bar association which was emceed by Nassau County Surrogate John Riordan. The surrogate took this opportunity to discuss  the recently decided case of Schoeps v. Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation which is reported at 884 NYS2d396. This First Department Appellate Division case is of interest on several levels. It deals with the attempt of  a German national to recover a multi-million dollar Picasso painting which he alleged was part of a huge art collection sold for a fraction of its true value when the Nazis were seizing Jewish assets in pre-war Germany.Continue Reading Court Leaves Door Open For Foreign Heir To Exercise Fiduciary Rights

Like so many of my readers, the mere mention of the Generation Skipping Tax causes my eyes to glaze over.  I usually break into a cold sweat before I consult the books –and the experts– in order to deal with a particular  GST problem. Your faithful law blogger still believes in calling in the experts in

New York’s Fourth Department Appellate Division has laid down the marker for a trustee’s fiduciary responsibility in Capital Heat, Inc. v. Michael R. Blatner Family Trust reported at  882 N.Y.S.2d 632. This matter involved a life insurance agreement made by the plaintiff with the defendant trust when the trustee was also a shareholder and

Erie County Surrogate Barbara Howe found that she lacked jurisdiction to compel an accounting by a successor guardian who had volunteered to administer a custodial account left for the benefit of the petitioner by his grandfather. In Re Gold is reported at 879 N.Y.S.2d 795. While the case itself is no more than a family food fight over what happened to less than five thousand dollars after a family member volunteered to handle the account when the petitioner’s grandmother (the original guardian) passed away, it brings to light an interesting conflict in the law .Continue Reading Bid To Compel Accounting Fails

New York’s Fourth Department Appellate Division has made a ruling which should be of interest to those involved in estate planning and elder law. The Matter of Padulo v. Reed (2009 NY Slip Op 04813) concerned valuable savings bonds which had been purchased by the decedent during the 1970s and were given to family members in 2001. These bonds, however, were retained by the recipients and were not actually liquidated until 2004 and early 2005. Some of the proceeds were used to pay the expenses of the decedent in a nursing home.It was also found that proceeds had been deposited in a joint account with the decedent. In September 2005, the petitioner sought to have the decedent receive Medicaid benefits.  Continue Reading Appellate Court Holds Look-back Period To Run From Date Of Asset’s Liquidation And Not Its Gifting