Probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation
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New York 2020 Case Roundup

Estate Dispute Over Calder Sculpture: A probate dispute involving an art gallery and an estate beneficiary over a sculpture created by the famous American sculptor, Alexander Calder.

Matter of Ash:  Extrinsic evidence is used to construe an ambiguous will under New York law.

Coronavirus and Remote Notarization in New York: Governor Cuomo signed executive orders regarding remote procedures permitted to execute estate planning documents during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Matter of Hoover:  A New York fiduciary can ask the Surrogate’s Court for help and direction in extraordinary circumstances and as to the propriety, price, manner and time of the sale of real property if the value is uncertain or dependent on the time of sale.

Rainford Mgt. Corp. v. 207 Van Buren LLC: Title to inherited property automatically vests in the heirs of a decedent who dies intestate in New York, however, such vesting of title is subject to the rights granted to the administrator to manage and dispose of it for purposes of distribution to beneficiaries of the estate.

Dean v. Dean: A wife’s claim for spousal support survived her death and could be pursued by the wife’s estate.

New York’s Version of Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act:  New York enacts a version of the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) which aims to preserve family real property.

Matter of Zelouf: You cannot revoke a renunciation that has been filed in a New York estate.

Hanna v. Fenton:  A decedent’s surviving next of kin has a common law right to immediately possess the body for preservation and burial, and under certain scenarios an action can be brought for interference with that right.

Matter of Kotsones:  No undue influence can exist in a New York will contest if there is no confidential relationship between the decedent and the alleged undue influencer.

Matter of Tsinopoulos:  Summary judgment in a New York will contest and a review of the basics of grounds to contest a will.

Matter of Lipton:  Testamentary substitutes are factored into the calculation of a surviving spouse’s elective share under New York law.

Probate Litigation and President Trump:  Mary Trump’s lawsuit against President Trump and others alleging fraud involved in Fred Trump’s estate.

Pachter v. 3063 Brighton 8 Props. LLC:  The newly enacted New York Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act does not apply retroactively.

Matter of Koksvik:  One of the exceptions to the eligibility of a natural person to serve as a fiduciary in New York is one who does not possess the qualifications required of a fiduciary by reason of substance abuse, dishonesty, improvidence, want of understanding, or who is otherwise unfit for the execution of the office.

Dugger v. Conrad: Substitution of a party after death in New York.

Matter of Haley: Summary judgment granted in a contested New York probate where the proponent of the will established a prima facie case for probate and the objectant fails to raise a material issue of fact.


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