Separation and divorce have, perhaps obviously, potentially adverse effects on estates and the probate process. Regardless of when it occurred. Both are fraught with emotions and complications that tend to linger for years. Along the line, promises are made, between the exes, with the children, som...

There can't be undue influence when someone leaves their entire estate to a charity, right? That is currently being vigorously debated in a New York court right now and it promises to go on for some time. It revolves around the estate of Himan Brown. Himan died in 2010 at age 99. The estate is value...

"Well, they had a lawyer, so ..." is a refrain that may be unique to estate and probate litigation. It seems that heirs - legitimate heirs with very legitimate claims - are hesitant, sometimes fatally so, to follow through with their claims because of the volume of documents the deceased signed. Som...

Gifts, Generosity or Undue Influence? is the first of a series of posts that we're calling - for lack of a better title - Famous Estate Cases. We think there's nothing quite as instructive about probate, wills, estates, disinheritance, undue influence and so everything else we write about  than re...

A parent starts a company with a friend, maybe even a few friends. It does well, grows, prospers, is there for future generations. The parent dies, the company – for tax and other reasons – goes into a trust and the trustee is a business partner. Sometimes the beneficiary works in the business, ...

This is a serious question that we get a lot: ‘when are estates closed?’ When is it finally done, wrapped up, no longer susceptible to challenges, no longer managing assets? A pretty important question, really, for trustees, beneficiaries, and interested parties on the outside looking in. Whil...

There is, according to the New York Times, a current epidemic of disinheriting across the U.S. It revolves around elder abuse, but not how you’d expect. Not physical abuse, but psychological. It’s been brought to the forefront by the Sumner Redstone case we’ve posted about on Facebook. Redst...

Think Watergate, Wills, Trusts, Executors, Trustees, fees and Watergate have nothing in common? Think again. All the President’s Men showed reporters Bernstein and Woodward frustratingly stymied as they tried to run down the story of a lifetime. At the low point of the Washington Post’s investi...

[caption id="attachment_1544" align="alignright" width="357"]  [/caption] The OKC Thunder’s season isn’t over, it’s just moved to another court – Probate. Fresh off their almost historic playoff run – beating the historically good Spurs, taking the historically great Warriors to a sevent...

An Undue Influence estate case could easily be the next big FX show, picking up right where The People vs. OJ Simpson left off. Or, I can easily envision a weekly show – CSI-like – where a team of intrepid investigators are brought in by disinherited families to prove undue influence. The defin...

We deal with probating poorly written wills and trusts fairly often; we deal with disinherited heirs even more. It’s interesting, rewarding work, but it never occurred to us that it was interesting enough for a movie plot. Until someone reminded us of this: Ned Racine was a nice guy, very much la...

A Codicil Too Far

Paul Getty was not shy about letting the world know he was its richest man. He was also renown as a miser. In the Ebenezer Scrooge way. He reveled in the fact that the guest rooms in his English estate had payphones. When his grandson was kidnapped in Italy in the early 70’s Getty first refused to...

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