It is easy to be cynical about the “pots and pans,” “tchotchkes,” and “junk” – – the property that is often divided in a contentious manner at the bitter end of an estate litigation, or sometimes forgotten after years of litigation. An ongoing dispute in one of my cases led me to reflect on a

In Matter of Brigati, Surrogate Czygier of Suffolk County addressed an application to reform the decedent’s life insurance trust, which contained a significant amount of insurance. The instrument contained a number of terms which could cause inclusion in the decedent’s gross estate. Among other things, it provided that upon the death of the Grantor, the life insurance

Readers may recall Eric Penzer’s previous entries regarding Leona Helmsley’s charitable trust in which she expressed a desire that its millions of dollars be used for the care and welfare of dogs. This week he addresses the New York County Surrogate’s Court’s latest decision on the issue, after animal welfare charities sought to intervene in the proceeding and vacate a prior determination that the trust assets could be distributed to any charities as the executors saw fit.
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As explained by Jaclene D’Agostino in our previous entry, constructive trusts may be imposed in a variety of circumstances. However, there are numerous situations in which courts have rejected the imposition of that remedy. One such example is the case of Dext v. Rorech III, Individually and as Executor of the Estate of William Rorech, Jr., recently emanating from Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court. Ilene Cooper discusses the case in this week’s entry.
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Although void in some states, it is well settled that in terrorem or no contest clauses are enforceable under New York law. In a recent case, Surrogate Glen addressed the question of whether an in terrorem clause had been triggered by the petitioner contesting a New York instrument before a Florida court. This week’s entry, written by Robert Harper, discusses the decision.
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This week’s entry discusses a recent decision from the Southern District of New York in which the plaintiff asserted he was the son of John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, and sought to compel distributions from the late president’s testamentary trust. Especially relevant to the trusts and estates litigator is the discussion of the probate exception to federal diversity jurisdiction.
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