When a loved one dies, it is difficult. When that loved one leaves behind
a recently re-drafted will that gives her caretakers the bulk of their
estate instead of her family, the death can be harder still. For people
with loved ones who made unexpected decisions they would not have made
when they were of sound mind,
probate litigation to challenge the will may be the right decision.
That is exactly the case for the family of one New York woman we wrote
about earlier this year on this blog. The woman, a copper heiress, gave
her nurse nearly $28 million in gifts, including a $1.2 million Stradivarius
violin and five homes, including three in Manhattan. In addition, the
woman gave her night nurse money to cover her children's tuition and
to help purchase two homes. The woman's doctor's family received
more than $3 million in presents.
However, the court-appointed official overseeing the woman's estate,
known as an administrator, has stepped in. The administrator, who believes
that the recipients manipulated the woman, has asked for all of the gifts
to be returned. In all, the administrator is seeking to reclaim about
The administrator has highlighted that for the 25 years preceding her recent
hospitalization, the woman had given less than $40,000 per year in gifts
on average. But that number shot up after her hospitalization.
Besides the gifts, a separate legal dispute is brewing over the woman's
multiple wills. Her last will left most of her money to charity and $30
million to her nurse. However, weeks earlier she had signed a will that
left most of her fortune to her 20 great-nieces and great-nephews. They
are contesting the most recent will.
Source: The Kansas City Star, " Copper heiress' huge gifts spotlighted
in NY court," Jennifer Peltz, June 16, 2012