After Half a Century, Surviving Same-Sex Partner Tries to Inherit His Partner’s Estate

It seems that anything that could go wrong did go wrong – legally speaking, that is – when William Cornwell died on June 19, 2014, believing he had made a will leaving his entire estate to Thomas Doyle, the man with whom he had shared his life for more than half a century. Cornwell had not involved a lawyer in preparing and signing the will, apparently, because no lawyer would have made the simple mistake … <Read More>

Dangers of Home-Made Wills Shown by New York Appellate Ruling

A New York Appellate Division four-judge panel has affirmed a ruling by New York County Surrogate Nora Anderson that Ronald D. Myers’ home-made will should be construed to leave his stock portfolio, apart from some IBM stock, to his mother rather than to his same-sex life partner.  Ephraim v. O’Connor, 2015 WL 4002277 (N.Y. App. Div., 1st Dep’t, July 2, 2015).  The ruling turned on the ambiguities of a document drafted without the … <Read More>

New York Court Rejects Challenge to Gay Man’s Will

New York County Surrogate’s Court Judge Nora Anderson has rejected a challenge to the will of Mauricio Leyton, a gay man who had designated his former lover as executor and a principal beneficiary under a will he made in 2001, a year before the men had a commitment ceremony and several years before they ceased to live together as partners.  Leyton’s mother and sister had challenged the will, arguing that David Hunter was disqualified under … <Read More>

New York County Surrogate Applies Archaic Family Priority Rules in Dispute over Estate of Gay Man

New York County Surrogate Nora Anderson issued a decision on February 18, 2014, in the pending will contest In the Matter of the Accounting of Martin Ephraim, as Fiduciary of the Deceased Executor, for the Estate of Ronald D. Myers, No. 2006/4109 (N.Y. Surrogate’s Court, N.Y. County), which surprisingly relied on old New York cases to prefer the mother of the decedent over his surviving same-sex partner in distributing disputed assets of the estate, … <Read More>