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Late millionaire’s estate likely headed for probate challenges

The will of a now deceased millionaire contains many provisions that will likely become the fodder for future legal battles over the administration of his estate. Perhaps the most interesting aspects of the former Manhattan, New York landlord's will are the conditions he set forth for his two daughters. For example, the two girls, who are 21 and 17 years old respectively, will receive $10 million each when they reach 35. However, each girl can get portions of that $10 million inheritance earlier as long as they reach several benchmarks prior to that time. Here are a few of the specifics set forth in the millionaire's will:

-- The eldest daughter could potentially get $500,000 whenever she gets married with the stipulation that her husband must also sign away his rights to any of that money.

-- That eldest daughter can also become eligible for another $750,000 as long as she graduates from an accredited school and writes an essay outlining her plans on what she intends do with her inheritance. The trustees appointed by her father will be responsible for reviewing and approving that essay as well as the disbursement of those funds.

-- The will also contains incentive bonuses for the two girls' salaries. It sets forth provisions to triple the amount of whatever they make annually. Beginning in 2020, the girls will receive a check in the amount of three times their salary on April 15.

The deceased millionaire, who was 77 years old when he died, also excluded his 58-year-old wife from the will. Which is perhaps not surprising because the will cites a premarital agreement the couple had previously concluded. The millionaire's wife has since indicated that she will contest her exclusion from the will. Although the couple was embroiled in a divorce at the time of the millionaire's death, in June the wife filed court documents citing the fact that she was still legally married to her husband when he died.

New York residents need to know that the formation of a valid will is crucial to ensure its enforceability. A New York estate planning attorney can help you create legal documents to safeguard your wishes for your estate's administration. An attorney can also help defend your estate against challenges in probate court.

Source: New York Post, "Daughters inherit $20M, but there's a catch," Ross Toback and Julia Marsh, July 27, 2015

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