As our everyday life continues to be impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed various executive orders to address the issues faced by the State and its residents during these unprecedented times.  In light of the executive orders that have been issued, the resulting closure of non-essential businesses, the quarantine orders

On March 19, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.7, which temporarily authorizes the remote notarization of documents in New York until April 18, 2020. Rob Harper provides a summary as to its contents in our latest post.
Continue Reading TO INFINITY AND BEYOND (OR AT LEAST APRIL 18, 2020): NEW YORK STATE LAW TEMPORARILY AUTHORIZES THE REMOTE NOTARIZATION OF DOCUMENTS

It is well established that the right to waive the attorney-client privilege survives the death of a client, but case law is still developing concerning who can effectuate a post-death waiver and in what circumstances. The Fourth Department recently addressed this question for the first time in Matter of Thomas. Eric Penzer discusses the decision in our latest post.
Continue Reading Waiving a Decedent’s Attorney-Client Privilege

In the past, New York Courts have demonstrated a willingness to apply the theory of promissory estoppel, to overcome the legal requirements of the Statute of Frauds. The Restatement (Second) of Contract, Section 139, endorses this principle, providing:

“A promise which the promisor should reasonably expect to induce action or forbearance on the part of

While most decisions rendered by the Surrogate’s Court result from an affirmative request for relief, occasionally the court will address an issue on its own motion when justice or the exercise of its inherent or statutory power requires. In our latest post, Ilene Cooper examines two recent opinions wherein the Surrogate’s Court again acted on its own initiative to achieve what it considered the proper result.
Continue Reading On Its Own Motion

In Gersh v. Nixon Peabody, LLP, the court addressed a legal malpractice claim brought by a decedent’s surviving spouse in connection with the couple’s estate planning. After settling a claim with the decedent’s children from a prior marriage that was made based on a separation agreement between the decedent and their mother, the surviving spouse alleged that the attorneys, who knew the decedent had been married twice before, failed to properly investigate his duties under separation agreements in the course of the representation. Frank Santoro discusses the case in our latest post.
Continue Reading Speculation, Estate Planning, and Legal Malpractice

Powers of attorney and trust instruments have each been the subject of many an estate plan. They each have also been the subject of multiple estate litigations. In combination, the two have served as fodder for controversies surrounding the agent’s authority over the trust and its terms. Two decisions — Matter of Goetz and Matter of Perosi v. LiGreci — have addressed the issue, albeit with different results. Both decisions provide valuable instruction for drafters and litigators. Ilene Cooper discusses these cases in our latest entry.
Continue Reading Lessons to be Learned From the Power of Attorney