In 1936, a young German immigrant opened a restaurant in Ecuador. Decades later, his business had evolved into a chain of 76 supermarkets and shopping malls that was one of the nation's largest corporations and was valued at about $1 billion. Now, following his 2003 death, three of his children are involved in probate litigation over the legal rights to the successful business. The case is a strange amalgam of litigation taking place both in the continental U.S. and abroad. Now, a lawsuit has been filed against and Upper New York investment firm.
The initial dispute occurred in Israel, where the immigrant's daughter filed suit to uphold the terms of the family's will in 2005. However, she has now brought a new lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court, alleging that her two brothers and a niece reorganized her father's business without her knowledge, increasing their shares in the business and reducing hers from hundreds of millions of dollars to virtually nothing. Her allegedly stolen fortune was located in Delaware. Case number 6896 was filed in the Chancery Court on behalf of the woman versus Upper New York Investment Company, LLC.
Unfortunately, disputes between family members upon the death of a loved one are all too common. Arguments over inheritances don't always result in probate litigation. However, controversy over property rights or will contests can add unwanted stress to an already a difficult time. Retaining the services of an experienced New York probate lawyer may decrease the chances of this happening. If litigation is already underway, it is often considered crucial to hire a knowledgeable estates and probate attorney, who can take steps to resolve the situation as quickly as possible in the manner that's most fair to all parties involved.
Source: The Bloomberg Business Week, "Heir to Ecuador Fortune Sues Brothers in Inheritance Dispute," Sept. 29, 2011