GARDEN CITY, NEW YORK — Blodnick Fazio & Associates, PC has announced that the firm successfully obtained a seven-figure settlement for a natural child of the decedent who was largely disinherited before her father’s passing, when his estate plan was changed just before he died.
The case involved an 88-year-old man who had five children — two natural children by his first wife and three stepchildren by his second wife, to whom he was married for more than 40 years. He owned a co-op apartment in Queens, a multi-acre estate in Montauk and several pieces of commercial property. Over the years, his estate plan had undergone several iterations. In 2011, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
In 2012, one of his stepdaughters and her husband, who resided in California, were recommended by their attorney to consult with an estate planning attorney on Long Island. That attorney recommended an estate plan under which some of the decedent’s wealth would pass to his wife for her benefit during her lifetime while a substantial amount would pass to each of the five adult children, with more to be distributed to them after his wife’s passing.
At the last minute, and with no documentation to support the decedent’s alleged desire to change the plan, his natural children were largely disinherited, each receiving a small percentage of their father’s wealth, while their stepmother and stepsiblings received the bulk of the inheritance. A few months after executing his last will, he passed away. The day after the decedent passed away, one of his natural children died.
In 2013, the firm contested the will on behalf of one of the natural children. Four years later, the firm reached a settlement of seven figures for its client. The amount was almost five times what the client would have received without litigation.
The case was handled by Thomas R. Fazio, Partner, and Laurie Sayevich Horz and Paul Lanni, Associates, Blodnick Fazio & Associates, PC.
“We are very pleased to obtain this settlement for our client,” Mr. Fazio said. “If we were not retained to contest the will, she would have received far less than what was negotiated in the settlement. It was a long battle, but it is great to see that justice has been done.”
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