A New York lawyer and a business manager have been accused of improperly influencing an elderly woman in an attempt to misappropriate a larger portion of her will. As the woman in question was the widow of the famous comic book publisher Jack Liebowitz, the proceedings have been of some public interest. The woman passed away on April 24, 2013.
The woman’s son has filed a suit in New York County Surrogate’s Court alleging a large number of misdeeds by her former associates, including elder abuse and fraud. His suit notes that her will was drafted and re-drafted on 28 occasions in the last 12 years of the woman’s life, and that the size of her bequest to the son shrank steadily with the passage of more and more wills while the amount left to the lawyer and the business manager grew dramatically. Both men now stand to inherit $1 million each from the will, and the widow’s gardener is bequeathed $1.5 million.
The men in question have filed papers with the court that dispute the charges against them. They allege that the woman, who was in failing health, commonly used her will as a tool to compel the people around her. The lawyer states that he prepared all the various drafts of the will in direct response to her current wishes. He also claims that his appointment as the executor of the will and the trustee of the estate, with nearly $1 million in fees paid to him and complete control over $30 million in charitable donations, was proper.
Litigation during the probate process often results when large sums of money are involved. It can be helpful for a potential beneficiary to seek the advice of an attorney who has experience in these matters.
Source: DNAinfo, “Widow of DC Comics Co-Founder Was Conned By Workers, Son Says”, James Fanelli, Jan. 5, 2015