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SCPA § 1404 requires that “at least two attesting witnesses must be produced before the court and examined before a written will is admitted to probate.” Very often, litigators think of examinations pursuant to SCPA § 1404 as examinations before trial that are conducted under Article 31 of the CPLR. But they are not. Hillary Frommer discusses this topic in our latest post.
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To object to the probate of a will, party must have a pecuniary interest that would be adversely affected by the admission of the instrument to probate. In Estate of Saunders, the Kings County Surrogate’s Court recently issued two decisions addressing the standing arguments of litigants in this context. Hillary Frommer discusses these cases in our latest entry.
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In two recent decisions, Surrogate Lopez Torres of Kings County denied petitions for guardianship under SCPA Article 17-A, demonstrating the strict circumstances under which guardians are appointed under this particular statute. Unlike under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law, the court has no discretion or authority to limit or tailor the powers of a guardian under Article 17-A. Thus, in both proceedings, the court was quite cognizant of the fact that an Article 17-A guardianship is the most restrictive form of guardianship available in New York. Hillary Frommer discusses the decisions in our latest entry.
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In Levien v Johnson, the New York County Surrogate’s Court recently enjoined the trustees of a testamentary trust from proceeding in Texas to challenge the adoptions of two adults, Parvin Johnson, Jr. and Kenneth Ives, by the grandsons of the Decedent, Arnold Levien. As the great-grandsons of the Decedent, Messrs. Johnson and Ives would be members of the class of remainder beneficiaries of the trust entitled to distributions. Hillary Frommer discusses the decision in our latest post.
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On October 28, 2014, the Court of Appeals rendered its long awaited decision in In re Lawrence, reversing the decision by the Appellate Division in which it was held that (1) a revised retainer agreement, under which the law firm received 40% of the net recovery (i.e. $44 million) was procedurally and substantively unconscionable and that fees should be determined under the original retainer; and (2) the claim to recover gifts made by the client to her attorneys was timely. Hillary Frommer discusses the decision in our latest entry.
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Two recent decisions from the New York County Surrogate’s Court attempt to answer this question. In Estate of Weisberg, decided on April 8, 2014, the court addressed the issue of marriage. Faced with competing petitions for letters of administration, the court was asked to find as a matter of law, that the cross-petitioner was the decedent’s wife and sole distributee of the decedent’s estate. In Levien v Johnson, decided on April 14, 2014, the court considered whether two adults adopted by the decedent’s grandchildren constituted “great-grandchildren” under the decedent’s will. In both cases, the court was asked to find that these familial relationships existed as a matter of law. Hillary Frommer discusses the decisions in our latest entry.

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