Eric Penzer recently discussed a case where constructive abandonment was asserted to disqualify a surviving spouse from an elective share. In our latest entry, Eric addresses a decision regarding actual abandonment as the basis for disqualification, and the hurdles that parties involved with such a claim may face.
Continue Reading Appellate Division: Issue of Fact Prevents Summary Disposition of Abandonment Allegations

It might well be an understatement to characterize New York’s Dead Man’s Statute (CPLR 4519) as somewhat “enigmatic,” at least to those practitioners who do not often encounter it. Indeed, the leading treatise on the statute is over three-quarters of a century old (see Greenfield on Testimony under Sec. 347 (CPA) § 61 [1923]).

This article contains a brief overview of the statute and more thorough discussion of its application to motions for summary judgment.

Generally — and perhaps overly simplistically — the Dead Man’s Statute renders an interested person incompetent to testify concerning a personal transaction (including a communication) with a deceased or mentally ill person. Such evidence is freely discoverable, however, and may be the subject of testimony at a deposition. Indeed, the rule applies only “upon the trial of an action or the hearing upon the merits of a special proceeding” (CPLR 4519).   

 

 


Continue Reading Inter Vivos Gifts, Summary Judgment, and the Dead Man’s Statute