Litigating Issues Involving Wills And Other Assets Taking Advantage Of The Elderly and Infirm – Part III

Fraud involves a situation where there has been a material misstatement of facts that the individual preparing a document such as a will, a trust or opening a joint bank account believed to be true. In this situation even the acts of competent individuals can be tricked into transferring assets or changing the individuals named on bank accounts or other estate planning documents. Here again, the persons challenging the transaction stating the action was impacted on by fraud, have the burden of proof.

Convenience Accounts

Sometimes when seniors get old, they have the inability to handle their finances. In these situations they will put a loved one, friend or child on the bank account solely for the purpose of helping them pay their bills. In these convenience accounts situations, the person who is put on the account was not intended to be a beneficiary should the maker of the account die. In situations where the person who was put on the bank account was not intended to inherit but was only there for convenience purposes of assisting the individual who died, the transaction can be shown to be simply that, a convenience account and not a situation where the other individual on the account should inherit. It is important in these situations that it be proved the intent of the individual who added the other person to the bank account was solely for convenience purposes.

Lack of Testamentary Formalities in Creating a Will or a Trust

In the State of New York there are very specific requirements to write a will. A will must be executed in front of two witnesses. The person making the will must publish to the witnesses that this is his or her will. The will must be signed at the end by the individual making the will and the witnesses must witness the signature of the person making the will and the signatures of the other witness. The witnesses must stay in the room the entire time for the duration of the will execution ceremony. The individual making the will must know what the actual objects of his or her bounty are and numerous other requirements. Violation of any of these requirements to make a will in the State of New York is a basis to set the will aside.

Probate Litigation, Estate Litigation and Family Feuds

Most estate contests involve litigation between family members. Unfortunately, a loved one dies and then the fight over his or her money or other assets ensues. Sometimes, these estate issues can be resolved amicably through negotiations between counsel for the various parties. However, if these issues cannot be amicably resolved, it is extremely important to quickly take the appropriate legal action in the Surrogate’s Court in New York to protect the interests of those individuals being deprived of their inheritance. It is extremely important whether you are an administrator, executor, or beneficiary of a will, trust, bank account, other investment vehicle or real estate, that you know your rights. The best way to be successful in these endeavors, is to hire an experienced, qualified estates lawyer to explain your rights to you and provide remedies to you when necessary.


Shakespeare said “money is the root of all evil”. Unfortunately when a loved one, friend, or family member dies, greed can sometimes become the moving factor which tears families and loved ones apart. Greed motivates individuals to take improper action sometimes to obtain a greater portion, or a portion of the decedent’s assets they were not entitled to. Having the best legal representation is clearly the best way to deal with these and probate litigation attorney