Every single probate case is different and unique. In the State of New York, probate litigation can take unexpected twists and turns, especially when it is a high asset estate, multiple revised wills exist, and many different people come forward to make a claim on the estate. Recently, a probate litigation case has made the news due to the high value of the estate and the fact that the former owner of the estate was living a life of extreme poverty when he died.
A 76-year-old farmer, who was the perfect example of someone rich in land but poor in cash, recently passed away. However, his probate case was nothing short of an estate-planning nightmare. Numerous revised wills existed wills that re-inherited, disinherited and revised the amounts that different people would receive as inheritance. Also, multiple individuals, friends and family members have stepped forward in order to claim a stake in the valuable property the farmer lived on.
At the time of his death, farmer himself was in poor health due to diabetes and heart problems and he was struggling to take care of himself both physically and financially. He had just a little more than $400 cash in his bank account when he died. Now, relatives are contesting the claim that is being made on the elderly man’s estate by his friend, a carpenter who family members accuse of swindling the man. Family members say that the carpenter manipulated the man into gifting him apartment buildings with a value of approximately $1.3 million and to alter his will to benefit him. In response, attorneys for the carpenter claim the gifts and inheritance were rewarding him for the enormous amount of help and assistance he gave the elderly farmer when the farmer needed it most.
Due to the multi-million dollar value of the farmer’s estate, the reality that the farmer lived in such poor conditions during his life is particularly sobering. In such cases, legal strategies can be employed by family members in New York to ensure that they receive what is due to through the probate litigation process. Depending on the facts of a particular case, old wills and/or revised wills can be nullified if it is established that a sick and elderly individual was fraudulently manipulated or coerced into disinheriting a loved one.
Source: jsonline.com, Even in death, bachelor farmer’s valuable land stirs legal battle, Annysa Johnson, Aug. 31, 2013