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June 2023 Newsletter

Long Island and New York City

Welcome to our June Newsletter!


Congratulations to our Client, U.S. Army, Specialist 5th class and Veteran Bob Blake (front and center) on his purchase of the 1st home in the new Columbia Terrace condominium in Huntington. This opportunity was made possible by The Huntington Town Board and the Community Development Agency, Director Angel Cepeda (to Mr. Blake’s left) Thank you for your service Mr. Blake!

Estate of M. Lost Will Proceeding – Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court

We had success recently in an out of the ordinary probate proceeding. Our client and her husband went to a lawyer years ago to create Wills. Over the years, they lost touch with their attorney and then Mr. M. passed away. When his wife came to us to probate his Will, we found that she only had a photocopy of her husband’s Will. When filing for probate, the original Will with “wet” signatures is required. The client recalled the attorney who drafted the Will retaining the original. After some research and speaking with one of the witnesses to the Will who worked for the attorney draftsman, we learned that the attorney was no longer practicing and had been disbarred. Efforts to locate him and the original Will were unsuccessful. Based upon my analysis and legal research, we decided to ask the Court to accept the photocopy of the Will in place of the original. This is no small feat! When the original Will cannot be located, the law presumes that the testator (the person making the Will) revoked it. It was then incumbent upon us to prove that Mr. M. did not intend to revoke his Will, that the photocopy we had was in fact the last Will he prepared and that the Court could rely upon the accuracy of the copy submitted. We did this by producing evidence in the form of affidavits and other evidence that convinced the Court to accept that the original was lost, not revoked and to permit the probate to proceed based upon the photocopy. Letters testamentary were issued recently and the executrix can now proceed to re-title assets and distribute the estate according to Mr. M’s wishes. Congratulations to the family and our paralegal, Lori, whose efforts helped us to overcome what at times seemed like an impossible task.
-Jim Leonick

Summer Driving – The 100 Deadliest Days

Believe it or not, statistically, the deadliest days for driving are from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
 Why is that?
 Over the summer there are more people out on the road. School is out so there are more young people on the road. Due to warm weather more people may be driving to vacation destinations or going to the beach, for example. Additionally, sunny weather causes people to daydream and think about things rather than focusing on the road. Distracted drivers certainly contribute to accidents.
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, in 2021:
  • Drivers under the age of 34 accounted for 47% of all distracted drivers involved in fatal accidents
  • Over 42,000 people died in fatal accidents and 2.5 million injured
  • 3,200 fatalities and 250,000 injuries were a result of distracted driving
Be careful when on the road this summer, stay focused on DRIVING and watching for others who are not.

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