Estate of Mendelson

Trusts and Estates

, New York Law Journal


Surrogate Rita Mella

In a turnover proceeding of more than $850,000 held by decedent Mendelson's executors, as proceeds of two bank accounts in decedent's name at the time of her death, son Jonathan challenged decedent's sister's authority to have retitled both accounts, previously named "for the benefit of" Jonathan, into decedent's sole name. Executors moved for summary judgment dismissing the petition, while Jonathan cross-moved for summary judgment granting it. Executors asserted the validity of the 2000 and 2009 instruments was previously adjudicated, claiming collateral estoppel applied precluding Jonathan from re-litigating the same issues herein. The court disagreed finding the prior court expressly declined to adjudicate matters involving the 2009 power of attorney, thus the decision in the probate proceeding provided no basis for issue preclusion here. It also noted Jonathan's proof created an issue as to forgery of the 2009 instrument, precluding summary judgment. Yet, the court found Jonathan failed to establish any material factual issue in the executors' case, granting the executors' motion for summary judgment dismissing the petition. However, it denied the executors' request for legal fees.

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