Contested Will Results in Settlement after Undue Influence Alleged with Dementia Patient

The beneficiaries of the estate of a wealthy Connecticut woman have agreed to settle a dispute over changes made to her Will after she was diagnosed with dementia, Bloomberg News reported.

Sadly, theft from the elderly and other forms of estate fraud are an all-too-common occurrence. A New York City estate planning attorney can assist residents with making estate plans that minimize such risks. In some cases, a loved one may file for Article 81 Guardianship in New York to take over the affairs of a vulnerable or aging loved one.And safeguards in probate court may also offer some protection. In still other cases, contesting a Will in New York may be the best option.

In this case, a trial over the $3.6 million estate was set to begin this month in West Harford. However, the sides have reached an agreement. The 89-year-old art teacher’s fortune was left to several colleges and other beneficiaries. Her husband, an aviation executive, died in 1999 and their only child passed away in 1963.

The dispute centered around two people who were close to her at the time of her death; they were set to inherit about $1.3 million after changes were made to her Will in 2006. The settlement will largely restore the directives of a previous Will. The changes eliminated large donations to several colleges and other beneficiaries, which led to the probate court challenge.

The decedent left $1 million to the University of Hartford to establish a scholarship in her daughter’s name. Jeanne died of meningitis while a freshman at the university. The 2006 Will cut the donation to just $100,000. Other schools that were set to receive money until being cut from the 2006 Will were Columbia University’s Teachers College, New York University and Parsons.

The settlement calls for the University of Harford to get about $900,000 and for the three New York schools to get about $160,000 each. The 2006 Will was completed shortly after doctors diagnosed her with dementia. She was moved to an assisted living facility a month later.

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. Please call me at (212) 355-2575 for a free consultation to discuss your rights.

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