Irish Sisters Leave Millions in New York Estate to Animal Rights Organizations

1250566_statue_of_liberty.jpgThe Irish Times recently reported the case of two sisters who donated their multi-million estate to charity, while leaving nothing to their relatives.

Proper estate planning in New York is vital to ensuring that your wishes are carried out upon your death.

The two sisters were born in Ireland and moved to the Upper East Side of Manhattan. One died in 1998; the surviving sister passed away in 2006, leaving behind an estate worth millions. The Times reports that lawyers are looking for relatives of the sisters in Ireland, not to notify them of an inheritance, but to inform them that the sisters have left their fortune to animal charities. An attorney in Ireland has been enlisted to help with the effort and has taken out an ad in national newspapers looking for surviving relatives.

The attorney in Ireland said the amount donated to animal charities is somewhere between $3 and $4 million but said it was unlikely that any distant relatives could challenge the Will.

Well, not exactly. Turns out at least 30 people have come forward claiming to be relatives, Irish Central reported.

It’s always a good idea to consult a New York City probate attorney when establishing a Will or administering an estate. But it can be especially critical in cases where a large sum of money is donated to charity or when possible heirs are either omitted from a Will or intentionally left without an inheritance.

However, issues relating to kinship matters, such as ascertaining and locating distant relatives, can transform the probate proceeding into a long and costly process. Additional life-time considerations such as a Living Trust or gifts may eliminate some of the post-death complications.


New York City Probate Attorney Jules Martin Haas handles all types of probate cases, including Wills, estate planning, estate settlement, advanced directives and guardianship matters. If you or someone you know has questions regarding any of these matters, please call me at (212) 355-2575 for a free consultation to discuss your rights.

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