The Estate Risks of Nuncupative Will Formation

The release of Stormy Daniels’ memoir, Full Disclosure by St. Martin’s Press is a landmark case of a legal matter post the 2006 Lake Tahoe meeting with now President Donald Trump.  The drama ensuing from the execution of a Non-Disclosure Agreement before the 2016 presidential election, has taught an inadvertent lesson about oral disposition of estates and the limited enforceability of nuncupative will formation within federal and state laws of probate.


Cohen’s Admission Under Oath

Paid $130,000 by Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, Daniels’s discusses the request for non-disclosure about the 2006 encounter with President Trump in her book. The final chapters focus on the federal court review of the details to the Non-Disclosure Agreement she argued were invalid – a claim disparate from the allegation that she felt intimidated by Cohen in her memoir. The story reported by the Wall Street Journal in January 2018, revealed the details of the federal court case, including Cohen’s admission to making the payment under oath. Further addressed in an interview on Anderson Cooper’s CBS broadcast television show 60 Minutes, Daniels’ expressed concern and fear about threats she claimed she received on the air.


Disposition of Daniels’ Estate Assets

Video recording of Daniels’ oral disposition of her estate assets in response to what she called “imminent” danger, included direct statements about a last will and testament. Though those documents did not exist in writing, Daniels’ purportedly addressed the issue of death threats, and provided instructions for administration of life insurance policy and other asset distribution to beneficiaries. Instructions for estate care of her horse stable assets, including directives to the sale of a horse for purposes of beneficiary care.

Limits to a Nuncupative Will in Court

Lessons learned from Daniels’s oral disposition of her estate are important. Nuncupative Will formation is rarely enforceable in court due to question of authenticity or fraud. Oral wills do not usually protect an estate and beneficiaries from the lengthy probate process either.  In some states like California and Texas, oral wills are not admissible in probate court. New York probate law, Consolidated Laws, Estates, Powers and Trusts Law – EPT § 3-2.1 Execution and attestation of wills; formal requirements provide oral wills are permissible under certain conditions. The states laws of intestacy are applied in probate decisions where the will is not considered to be authentic.

Contact a licensed New York estate law attorney practice to find out about how to protect beneficiaries from probate with formation of a written will.


Estate Law Attorney Practice

Ettinger Law Firm is a licensed New York attorney practice specializing in estate planning and probate litigation. Contact Ettinger Law Firm to schedule an estate planning consultation.      

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