On November 14, 2013

Colorado residents may be interested in the recent ruling in a New York case involving a mentally unstable mother who had been accused of killing her own children and was now attempting to share in their estates. A Nassau County Surrogate’s Court judge recently ruled that the woman could not receive any of the estates even though she was not convicted of a crime.

The incident occurred in 2008 when the 33-year-old woman allegedly slashed the throat of her 6-year-old daughter before drowning the girl along with the girl’s two younger brothers. Shortly thereafter, she twice attempted suicide before being arrested. The woman’s attorneys claimed she was trying to save the children from voodoo. She was ultimately found not guilty because of insanity and committed to a psychiatric facility.

The $350,000 estate is a product of a suit by the children’s fathers against Nassau County over claims that social workers didn’t do enough to protect the children. The mother has attempted to prevent the father of the two boys from receiving any money because she claimed that he abandoned the children. The father’s attorneys claim that although the woman wasn’t convicted of murder, she couldn’t profit from the deaths because she caused them. The judge in the case agreed.

Although this is a bizarre and tragic case, it does exemplify the level of conflict and complexity often involved in settling an estate. When members of a family disagree over the contents of a will or question its validity, probate administration can be a long and complicated affair. An attorney with experience in trust and estate administration may be able to assist with the settlement process.

Source: ABC News, “Judge: No Estate Rights for NY Mom Who Killed Kids“, Frank Eltman, November 06, 2013

Categories: Probate Litigation