One of my first bosses used to say the price of the sports car your child purchases is directly proportional to the size of his inheritance when he turns eighteen. This tried and true axiom has occurred to more and more parents and they are dealing with the situation in greater numbers. An article by Chris Taylor in the Financial Post reported here speaks to how more folks are utilizing testamentary trusts with delayed payouts.


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The estate of boxing promoter Ronald "Butch" Lewis has raised a number of issues that a local law school professor has called "a great final exam question". As reported in Delaware Online, claims for child support must be filed against an estate within eight months of a person’s death. Lewis’ child, however, was not born until nine months following his death, the child support claim having been made just eight days after his paternity was established. 


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When asked for advice as to how to avoid the destructive kind of litigation which characterizes a contested estate, many lawyers will probably opt for a well-constructed in terrorem  clause –a legal poison pill which threatens a potential contestant with the loss of his or her legacy.


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The story of Hugette Clark, a reclusive copper heiress who died in 2011 at the age of 104 just keeps on getting stranger. Worth hundreds of millions of dollars at her death, she spent the last 20 years of her life as a private pay patient at New York’s Beth Israel Hospital. As the New York Times now reports, she was not in need of hospital treatment when she entered the hospital but was allowed to stay there "as long as the hospital didn’t need her bed". She was billed millions of dollars for her two decade stay at the hospital during which time she also made multi- million dollar gifts of cash and art to the institution as well as a million dollar bequest in her will.


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The Appellate Division of the Fourth Department has upheld the decision of  the Erie County Surrogate which dismissed objections to the nomination of an  executor in the Matter of the Estate of Carmen J. Russo reported at 954N.Y.S.2d 395 (A.D. 4 dept 2012). The decedent’s daughter filed objections to probate, claiming that the proposed executor had a potential conflict of interest which would prevent serving as a fiduciary.


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New York County Surrogate Nora Anderson has denied summary judgment and ordered a trial to determine  whether or not letters testamentary issued in 1979 should be revoked and a will made one week later in 1978 admitted to probate in its place. The case, The Will Of  Elmer H. Bobst is reported in today’s New York Law Journal. The will offered by the objectants  was recently discovered by the decedent’s great granddaughter and it differs markedly from the one originally admitted to probate. The estate was worth more than ten million dollars 34 years ago.


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Your lawblogger frequently gets questions about how to obtain records of an estate. The Surrogate’s Court is a court of public record and every document filed is available to anyone. You can get copies of the entire estate of your Aunt Minnie who died in 1912 if that is what you would like. The difficulty

An article by Dennis Kennedy in this month’s ABA Journal poses some interesting questions about our "digital estate". Keeping in mind that the "e" in email stands for "evidence" and  "eternal", it is a sure bet that our on line presence will outlive us. That will apply to our email accounts, social networks, and all of the public, private and commercial places where we leave a record of our coming and going on line.


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