Gracias por todo lo que ha hecho por nosotros y por haber puesto siempre los intereses de nuestra familia en primer lugar. Que Dios le bendiga a usted y a su familia hoy y siempre.
Con un gran aprecio.
Diciembre del 2011 desde Haverstraw, Nueva York
Querido Billy Martin,
Sólo queríamos expresar nuestro agradecimiento por su tiempo y sus sabias palabras. No pensábamos que fuera posible conocer a un abogado honesto, pero usted lo es. Gracias de nuevo por su generosidad.
8 de Diciembre del 2011, desde Stony Point, condado de Rockland, Nueva York
¡Los abogados de Martin & Colin han sido de GRAN ayuda!
Queridos Lisa y Hill,
Quiero dales las gracias por encargarse del caso de mi hermano. Se que puede ser una persona difícil, pero tengo que decir que no lo había visto así de sano en muchos años. Tengo fe en que esto seguirá siendo así. En otra nota, me gustaría veros a los dos. Seguimos en contacto.
10 de Agosto del 2011 desde Fairfield, Connecticut
Grandes abogados, gran servicio, ¡ganaron mi caso!
Los abogados de Martin & Colin, tanto Lisa como Hill, han trabajado en dos casos diferentes y han GANADO ambos, los dos son abogados inteligentes y trabajadores abogados que se preocupan por sus clientes, lo que no es fácil de encontrar. Los recomendaría a cualquier persona que busque un abogado. ¡Son los mejores!
25 de Enero del 2011 desde Port Chester, Nueva York
Feliz de haber encontrado a Martin & Colin
Espero que sepa cuánto significa para nosotros, y lo mucho que lo apreciamos.
2 Corintios 9:10-11 (Nuevo testamento)
10 Y (Dios) nos provee de la semilla del el pan que comemos, y también proveerá y multiplicará vuestras [resources for] siembras e incrementará los frutos de tu rectitud [que se manifiesta en bondad, amabilidad y caridad activa]. 11Así te enriquecerás de todas las cosas y de todas las formas, para que así seas generoso, y administradas por nosotros traerán fuerza a la gracia de Dios.
2010, desde Sleepy Hollow, Nueva York
No podemos expresar con palabras nuestra gratitud. Gracias una y otra vez por el favor, su paciencia y su esfuerzo, por no mencionar su gran labor. Por favor, acepte esto como una pequeña muestra de nuestro agradecimiento y nuestras plegarias.
28 de Agosto desde Sleepy Hollow, NY
The injury lawyers at Martin Colin, P.C., headquartered in White Plains, New York, handle accident claims, negligence and personal injury cases. If you have been hurt in an accident due to the negligence of another person, our attorneys may be able to help.
Please call (914) 771 7711 or email using the ‘Contact Us’ form on this page.
Martin Colin, P.C. recently announced the settlement of a very complex lawsuit with overlapping estate litigation and family law issues. The lawsuit was commenced in 2008 and finally settled in 2013. This post is the second and final segment discussing this case. The first segment, posted last week, outlined the relevant facts. This final post discusses the court’s ruling on the summary judgment motions that brought about the settlement.
I refer you to last week’s post (click here) for the material facts.
You will recall that the second wife had divorced the decedent in 2001. When he suddenly and unexpectedly dropped dead during his marriage to the third wife, in 2008, his body was not even cold yet when the second wife signed up an estate litigation lawyer and rushed to the Westchester County courthouse, armed with her Separation Agreement as well as her Judgment of Divorce, and demanded every last dime she was entitled to pursuant to their divorce agreement.
Elevating aggressive lawyering over common decency, while the third wife was making funeral arrangements and mourning her loss, the second wife charged into the Supreme Court seeking injunctive relief and a freezing of assets. (Note that the second wife’s first move was not to Surrogate’s Court, against the estate, but to Supreme Court, seeking to enforce her contractual rights contained in the Separation Agreement against the third wife directly.) Fortunately, the judge of the Supreme Court, Westchester County, refused to freeze assets. Thankfully, the judge let the third wife grieve and bury her husband, in peace, while the judge contemplated the best course of action to resolve the case.
When the parties finally arrived in Supreme Court, the third wife sought to compromise the case, so that she could put this conflict behind her and she could return to grieving. But the second wife wouldn’t have any part of it. The second wife demanded $160,000 to settle a $60,000 claim. When the third wife refused to negotiate against such a ridiculous demand, the second wife once again returned to her favorite activity, aggressive lawyering, and filed a second lawsuit: this time estate litigation in Surrogate’s Court, seeking the entirety of the estate.
The legal grounds beneath all the second wife’s lawsuits? The second wife made an unusual legal claim in each lawsuit. In the first action, filed in Supreme Court directly against the third wife, the second wife claimed that the New York State Court of Appeals, the highest court in our state court system, had ruled in 1984, in Rogers v. Rogers, that if the dead husband had promised life insurance to a prior wife, but contrary to his promise, changed the beneficiary to his current wife, and died, then the court could take those assets away from the current wife and give them to the past wife, pursuant to their divorce agreement. In the second action, filed in Surrogate’s Court against the decedent’s estate, the second wife claimed that the Separation Agreement made her a creditor against the estate with special priority that would ensure that her claim against the estate would get paid first.
Obviously, by now you have figured out why these two unusual legal claims were so important to the second wife: because the decedent husband had died with a very small estate. Not enough assets to pay everybody he owed. So in order to be made whole, the second wife either had to move to the front of the line, in terms of being paid out of the estate funds, or she had to be able to reach assets that were not part of the estate, such as the life insurance proceeds paid to the third wife directly, which passed to the third wife ‘outside of the estate.’
Before long, these two estate litigation cases, i.e., the Supreme Court case and the Surrogate’s Court case, were combined into one consolidated case before one judge in the Supreme Court, Westchester County. However, the combined case was passed along a series of three or four judges between 2008 and 2013. Finally, in 2013, the fifth and final judge to be assigned to this case reviewed and decided cross-motions for summary judgment.
After having reviewed all the facts, and after having carefully considered all the legal arguments submitted by both sides, the Supreme Court, Westchester County, rendered a decision. The Court ruled:
The deceased husband did owe the full amount of the life insurance to the second wife. But this debt was to be paid by the estate, not by the third wife, because the second wife failed to demonstrate that the estate did not have sufficient assets to pay this debt.
The deceased husband did owe his share of unreimbursed medical expenses and summer camp expenses for the children (incurred during his lifetime), even though the second wife did not establish that she ever submitted the bills to the deceased before his death.
The deceased husband would be required to contribute toward the youngest child’s college expenses even though the Separation Agreement stated that the two parents would mediate the issue.
Thus, in making the rulings set forth above, the court agreed with the third wife that the husband was not required to contribute to any expenses incurred after his death, but the court rejected the third wife’s arguments: that the second wife’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations; and that the second wife could obtain contribution only if she had submitted the expenses to the husband while he was still alive.
Finally, and most importantly, the court denied the third wife’s claim that the estate and/or the third wife had to reimburse her for allegedly incurring approximately $100,000 in attorney’s fees. (Our fees were less than 1/2 of this amount.) The court ruled that, under divorce law, the second wife was not entitled to an award of attorney’s fees because she was not a “non-monied spouse” under DRL 238, and because she had not demonstrated that the deceased husband had “willfully” refused to pay a court-ordered obligation under DRL 237.
Upon review of this decision and order, the second wife immediately took steps to appeal. However, with this ruling, it also became abundantly clear to the second wife that she would never recover anywhere near the $160,000 which she was demanding to settle this claim. Based on the court’s ruling, set forth above, this claim was worth, at best, $60,000. And a huge portion of that amount would have to be paid over to the second wife’s lawyers. For all these reasons, the claim finally settled for an amount far less than $60,000.
As this case demonstrates, our attorneys have been successful in estate litigation. In addition, we are experienced matrimonial lawyers. Resolving this case involved a complex interplay between estate law, domestic relations law and contract law. The attorneys at Martin Colin, P.C. can be contacted by telephone at (914) 771 7711. Let us help you successfully resolve your legal matters.
Martin Colin, P.C. announces the settlement of a very lengthy and complex lawsuit with overlapping estate litigation and family law issues. The lawsuit was commenced in 2008 and finally settled in 2013. This post consists of two parts. The first part, set forth below, outlines the relevant facts. The second part will discuss the court’s ruling on the summary judgment motions that brought about the settlement.
Here are the material facts.
At the time of the divorce from his second wife, the Husband agreed:
To continue paying for $150,000 in life insurance coverage on his life until she turns 65;
To permit the wife to take over the life insurance when she turns 65;
To pay off college loans of first three children, and to discuss whether he should pay the fourth;
To pay child support, including unreimbursed medical expenses and summer camp expenses;
That these obligations can be enforced against his estate.
Now, at the time of his death:
The husband was married to his third wife;
The husband had only $100,000 in life insurance, and approximately $70,000 annuity;
The second wife was beneficiary of the $100,000 life insurance;
The third wife was beneficiary of the $70,000 annuity;
The husband was still paying off college for the first three (they had graduated)
The fourth child had started college, but the husband had not contributed anything.
Finally, here is what happened, by operation of law, at the moment of his death:
The life insurance passed to the designated beneficiary outside of the estate;
The annuity passed to the designated beneficiary outside of the estate;
The husband’s death ended his obligation, going forward, to pay child support.
The husband’s death ended his obligation, going forward, to pay spousal support.
Now, the lawsuit started in 2008, underwent 5 judge changes, and finally resolved in 2013. What took so long? Here’s the challenge: the second wife contended throughout this litigation that she was entitled to more than $160,000 from both the third wife and the estate. The third wife contended throughout this litigation that she owned nothing, and the estate owed approximately $25,000. Now, one more important fact for you to know: the estate had approximately $75,000 in assets, but after expenses that, based on priority in the law, get paid first, the estate had approximately $25,000 in assets.
Our attorneys are experienced in estate litigation. In addition, we are successful matrimonial lawyers. Resolving this case involved a complex interplay between estate law, domestic relations law and contract law. Follow this article for the second post to learn how a very intelligent and hard-working judge finally brought this case to a resolution.
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Martin + Colin, P.C. es un despacho de abogados de éxito del Condado de Westchester, en el Estado de Nueva York, que representa a clientes tanto en las cortes federales como del estado a lo largo de toda el área metropolitana de Nueva York. Defendemos una extensa variedad de litigios entre los que se incluyen: casos de demandas por lesiones y negligencias médicas; defensa criminal; derechos civiles y… [Leer más…]
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Transacciones en propiedades inmobiliarias
Martin + Colin, P.C. posee experiencia en todas las formas de transacciones relacionadas con las propiedades inmobiliarias y por ello podemos ayudarle con sus necesidades específicas en cuanto a propiedades comerciales o residenciales. Desde la adquisición de su primera vivienda a la venta de un condominio de inversión, Martin + Colin puede ayudarle a través de todo el proceso. Martin + Colin conoce a la comunidad porque también vive y trabaja en ella. Poseemos un profundo conocimiento de las leyes estatales y federales y de sus aplicaciones… [Leer más…]