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Matter of Kinzler

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division
195 A.D.2d 464 (1993)


Facts

Pauline Kinzler’s will divided her estate into three equal shares for her daughters, Gloria Zweibon, Louise Kinzler, and Beatrice Hornstein. Beatrice’s share was to be placed in a trust, with the income paid to Beatrice and the remainder passing to her children. Pauline’s son-in-law Bertram Zweibon drafted the will and was the executor. Louise and Gloria were the cotrustees of the trust for Beatrice. The daughters were hostile to one another, which Bertram was aware of. After Pauline’s death, Bertram sold Pauline’s home to Louise. He also refused to pay estate income to Beatrice, and made a cash distribution of $50,000 to his wife, Gloria, from the proceeds of the house sale. Bertram also paid himself his own attorney fees out of the estate without court approval. Beatrice and her children (plaintiffs) brought suit against Bertram (defendant). The lower court held that Bertram’s sale of the house to Louise was tainted with a conflict of interest and self-dealing and that Bertram improperly paid himself his attorney fees without court approval, and the court limited the amount of attorney fees Bertram could receive. Bertram appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Memorandum)

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