Decedent’s Sister Fails to Set Aside Will

probate attorney in New YorkRoosevelt, the sister of MacGuian, brought a proceeding in the Surrogate’s Court of New York County before Surrogate Rita Mella challenging a Will that MacGuian had executed in 2011. She claimed the Will, which was being submitted by the executor Eng, the decedent’s long time girlfriend, should not be accepted for probate. Roosevelt claimed the Will was not properly executed. In addition, she claimed MacGuian lacked testamentary capacity, there was undue influence and fraud involved in the preparation and execution of this Will.

2011 Will

The 2011 Will designated Eng as its executor. In addition, Eng was named as a beneficiary of all tangible assets including the decedent’s cooperative apartment, and one half of the balance of his estate which totaled more than $8,000,000. The other half was left to be divided among five charities.

Roosevelt claimed in her application to set aside the Will, that it was a significant departure from the prior Wills of MacGuian. The prior Wills named Roosevelt or her children as partial beneficiaries.

Surrogate Mella found the 2011 and the prior Wills presented a series of testamentary plans in which MacGuian provided for those individuals he had a relationship with at that time. Surrogate Mella dismissed Roosevelt’s claim. Her decision stated Roosevelt failed to raise a triable issue of fact with regard to issues involving testamentary capacity and her other objections. The witnesses to the Will provided documentation that MacGuian was of sound mind at the time the Will was executed. In addition, MacGuian’s doctors all provided documentation of MacGuian’s testamentary capacity at the time the Will was planning lawyer