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Estate of Morea

Surrogate’s Court of New York
645 N.Y.S.2d 1022 (1996)


George Buonaroba, a friend of the decedent and a beneficiary under his will, was an attesting witness to decedent’s will, along with Kevin, decedent’s son, and a third witness. Kevin was a beneficiary under the will, but the third witness was neither a beneficiary nor an appointee under the will. Kevin’s bequest under the will, however, was less than the amount he would have received if his father had died intestate. Pursuant to N.Y. Estates, Powers & Trust Law (EPTL) §3-3.2, a bequest to an attesting witness who is a beneficiary under the will is void unless there are at least two other witnesses “who receive no beneficial disposition or appointment thereunder.” Kevin, like Buonaroba, is a beneficiary under the will and an attesting witness, and does not face forfeiture of his inheritance because, as the decedent’s son, he is also a distributee of the decedent. Indeed, Kevin’s bequest under the will is less than what he would inherit if his father had been intestate. Accordingly, the question came before the Surrogate’s Court in an uncontested probate proceeding whether the bequest to George Buonaroba is void under N.Y. Estates, Powers & Trust Law (EPTL) §3-3.2.

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