Matter of Will of Duke

NEW YORK COUNTY
Trusts and Estates

New York Law Journal

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Surrogate Nora Anderson

The appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL) was the prime issue in these accounting proceedings. The prospective wards were decedent Duke's 15 year-old twin great-grandchildren, the sole remainder beneficiaries of trusts. The twins, and Inman, their mother, sought appointment of another named attorney as the children's GAL. In a separate decision, the court denied a petition for appointment of another GAL finding Inman had a conflict of interest with her children regarding some matters raised. Yet, the court noted the denial of that application did not mandate the same result here as the proceedings involved different issues. It noted it was satisfied that nominated attorney would not have divided loyalties in performing his or her duties, which may result in failing to adequately protect the children's rights in the estate. The court found, unlike the other proceedings, Inman did not have a stake in the outcome of the accountings incompatible with her children's interests. Thus, while she was instrumental in finding and selecting the nominated GAL, in the absence of conflict, this did not militate in favor of denying the petitions. Hence, the petitions to replace the prior GAL with petitioners' nominee in the accountings was granted.

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