Will of Alexis Kirk

Trusts and Estates

New York Law Journal


Surrogate Glen

Respondents moved to compel compliance with a subpoena duces tecum served on an attorney, Ann Pincuss Berman, in this probate proceeding. Berman drafted a May 6, 2010, instrument offered for probate by decedent's daughters. The instrument divided the estate between the two daughters. Yet, decedent allegedly executed another will on April 29, 2010, drafted by a different attorney which split the estate between the Armenian Church and decedent's friend, John Mahdessian, along with a $50,000 bequest to each daughter, and $10,000 to another friend, Wendy Handelman. Movants, Mahdessian and Handelman, sought Surrogate's Court Procedure Act §1404 discovery, seeking all drafts and versions of the May 6 instrument. Berman produced responsive documents and a privilege log of 46 pages of documents, claiming they were properly withheld for attorney0client or attorney-work product privileges. The court granted the motion to compel to the extent of requiring Berman to turn over counsel documents numbers 22 through 26, 28 through 31, and 39 through 40. It denied the motion otherwise finding the other documents were privileged or did not relate to the preparation and execution of the May 6 instrument.

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