Perhaps the most surprising fact reported following the death of musician Prince Rogers Nelson was that the celebrity died without a Last Will and Testament. As mentioned in a previous blog article, Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson filed an Emergency Petition in a Minnesota court seeking the appointment of a Special Administrator. The circumstances surrounding the celebrity’s death is not uncommon, as 55 percent of Americans do not have a will or an estate plan in place, according to LexisNexis.
According to documents obtained by People Magazine, Prince did not have a Last Will and Testament. Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson filed an Emergency Petition in a Minnesota Court seeking the appointment of a Special Administrator.
In New York State, a will is a written document that must contain a signature at the end witnessed by two people. The purpose of a will is to name beneficiaries who will receive property after your death. A will is revocable and can be destroyed by a physical act such as burning or tearing, by operation of law such as divorce, by presumption (for example, after your death the will cannot be found), or by a subsequent will. Accordingly, a will may be revised many times during one’s life. In a will, an executor for the estate and guardians for children may be named, and instructions for wishes to be carried out may be listed. Upon death, a will goes through the probate process and becomes a public document.
On September 24, 2014, the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division: Second Department reversed a lower court’s order annulling the marriage between a younger woman and an elderly man. The Appellate Division determined that a new hearing on the man’s ability to enter into a marriage contract was warranted. Capacity, in a legal sense, refers to the ability to make a rational decision based upon all relevant facts and considerations.
The case involved an elderly man who was appointed a guardian by the New York Supreme Court to provide for his personal needs and property management. During the course of his guardianship, the elderly gentleman entered into a marriage with a younger woman. After being informed of the marriage, the guardian asked the Court to have a psychologist determine whether the elderly man had the capacity to enter into a marriage. After a hearing and testimony, the New York State Supreme Court determined that the elderly gentleman lacked the capacity to enter into a marriage, and, as a result, annulled the marriage.
On Appeal, attorney Tanya Hobson-Williams, representing the young woman, argued that her client was not given any notice that her marriage would be annulled and that she lacked the opportunity to be heard by the court before it ultimately decided to annul the marriage to her late husband. While the petition to appoint a Guardian for the elderly man requested a determination of the elderly gentleman’s capacity to handle his affairs, neither the Petitioner nor the Guardian ever requested that the marriage be annulled. Essentially, all that was formally requested of the court was to determine matters pertaining to the level of guardianship. Continue reading “Tanya Hobson-Williams, P.C. Defends Client’s Marriage to Husband who was declared an Incapacitated Person Resulting in Wife Inheriting $3 Million Dollar Estate”