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Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 20 2011

When Tom Duffy died, his will left his "jewelery, personal effects, household goods, works of art and automobiles"to his friend, Diane.  If Diane died before Tom, the entire estate went to a veterinarian to pay for care for Tom's pets.  The problem was that when Tom died, he owned real estate.

Diane was still alive, so the veterinarian got nothing.  Now Tom's wife, from whom he had been separated for many years, and his estranged daughter stepped in and claimed the real estate Tom owned because the will didn't specify that it passed to Diane.

The Superior Court rules that Tom intended to pass the entire estate to Diane unless she died before Tom, and the Appellate Division just affirmed the lower court.  In the matter of the Estate of Thomas J. Duffy, App. Div. (per curiam).

If you have a complex family situation, you should review your will and estate plan to be sure your intentions are clearly stated.  You may not be as lucky as Tom.