A person who executes a valid agreement to make a testamentary disposition as to a specific item of property is precluded from making an alternative disposition, either during lifetime or upon death. In this blog post, Brian Corrigan discusses Schwartz v Bourque, 2017 NY Slip Op 31621(U) (Sur Ct, Nassau County June 14, 2017), a recent decision involving an agreement to make a testamentary disposition as to a specific parcel of real property, a later agreement between the same parties concerning that property (that was alleged to have superseded the earlier agreement), and a deed transferring that same property which was contrary to the terms of the earlier agreement, but not the later one. In vacating the deed, Surrogate Reilly engaged in a comprehensive analysis of the applicable rules of contract construction, agreements to make testamentary dispositions, the termination of joint tenancies, and the statutory and case law governing fraudulent conveyances.
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This month’s blog post will address a recent decision by the Appellate Division, First Department, entered in In re Perelman, that helps reiterate and define the parameters of discovery proceedings. The case is interesting not only for its facts and the issues they presented, but for its litigants: Ronald Perelman, of Revlon and corporate raider

New York’s “slayer rule” essentially provides that if an individual kills another person, he has automatically forfeited any interest he may have had in his victim’s estate. The rationale is simple – no one should financially benefit from his own crime. Applicability of the rule is generally straightforward, but in certain cases, the lines can become blurred — such as in Matter of Edwards, where the killer sought to inherit from his victim only indirectly, through the estate of the victim’s post-deceased daughter. Jaclene D’Agostino discusses the decision in our latest entry.

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A donor writes in a pledge amount, signs the pledge card, hands it over to the charity, and is absolutely committed to that amount; end of story, right? Not necessarily. A recent case emanating from Kings County Surrogate’s Court, Matter of Issac Kramer, shows that certain charitable pledges may not be as binding as they appear on paper. Spencer Reames discusses the decision in our latest entry.
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