Estate litigation oftentimes arises when parents favor one or more of their children over others in their estate plans. Fortunately, at least for the parents, they typically do not have to deal with the issues involved in the litigation, as they are deceased by the time that it arises. As the Second Department’s decision in

Having been adjudicated in both the criminal and civil forums, Castor v. Pulaski addressed the disturbing scenario of a wife murdering her husband, and thereafter forging his will so as to obtain all of his property. John Morken dicusses the civil case in this week’s entry.
Continue Reading Court Awards Compensatory and Punitive Damages, and Attorney Fees, for Fraud in Probating Will

One of the most common objections in probate contests is the allegation that the propounded instrument was a product of undue influence. In our latest entry, Ilene Cooper reflects upon two decisions from 2011 in which the Surrogate’s Courts of New York and Kings Counties addressed such claims, which arose from contrasting fact patterns.
Continue Reading Issues of Undue Influence

Administering the estate of a decedent who dies intestate is sometimes more complicated than one of a decedent who dies leaving a will. The distributees of an intestate decedent are often unknown, leading to citation by publication and a kinship hearing with respect to anyone who appears alleging to be an heir. Frank Santoro discusses these situations in our most recent entry.
Continue Reading Who are the Distributees?

New York’s “slayer rule” generally prohibits an individual from benefiting from his own wrongdoing. However, due to the unusual facts of a case that is developing in Suffolk County, a murderer may indirectly inherit his victim’s estate through intestacy. Robert Harper discusses the situation in this week’s entry.
Continue Reading The Slayer Rule

At the time of her death in 1974, it was believed that Ellen Naomi Cohen a/k/a “Mama Cass” of the 1960’s rock-folk group The Mama’s & The Papa’s died intestate. But recent revelations indicate that she may in fact have had a will. Eric Penzer discusses these recent findings in our latest entry.
Continue Reading Mama Cass’s Estate – California Dreamin’ or a Nightmare?