New York Estate Litigation Attorney | Contested Wills
Educated at Hofstra University School of Law and New York University of Law, Lenard Leeds has established a reputation for effectiveness and excellence in the area of estate litigation. Mr. Leeds involvement in prominent cases has resulted in media outlets regularly asking him to appear on air to comment on high-profile cases, such as the Michael Jackson case and the Dr. Edward Kleiner sexual harassment case. Mr. Leeds has practiced law for over 25 years in the areas of estate and probate litigation, divorce law, and employment law.
If you believe your loved one’s will has been tampered with or he or she was the victim of undue influence, contact estate litigation attorney Lenard Leeds today at Leeds Brown Law, P.C.
The Anna Nicole Smith Case
In June of 1994, Anna Nicole Smith (born Vickie Lynn Hogan) married oil tycoon, J. Howard Marshall, in Houston, Texas. In August of 1995, Marshall passed away and a legal battle ensued between Ms. Smith and E. Pierce Marshall, Mr. Marshall’s son. The value of the elder Marshall’s estate was set at $1.6 billion dollars and had been left to E. Pierce in the elder Marshall’s estate plan.
Ms. Smith, although not formally included in the estate plan, maintained her husband told he intended for her to receive half of his estate. To complicate matters, J. Howard Marshall’s other son, James Howard Marshall III, also entered the fray claiming he too, had been told by J. Marshall that he was to receive a portion of the estate, even though he was not included in the written estate plan.
Prior to J. Howard’s death and during the ensuring battle over his estate, Mr. Leeds advised and represented Ms. Smith regarding her rights and legal prerogative as J. Howard’s widow and estate. Eventually, however, an employee of Ms. Smith’s would win an $850,000 judgment against her making any money she received from J. Howard’s estate part of her assets. As a result, the California courts became involved and the original dispute over J. Howard’s estate was brought before the Supreme Court.
At this juncture, Mr. Leeds was no longer involved as the issue before the Supreme Court involved questions of jurisdiction. While the Supreme Court would eventually find in favor of Ms. Smith on certain points, Mr. Leeds provided her with the legal guidance and representation needed to ensure her interests and rights were protected from the beginning.
The Largest Estate ever probated in Nassau County
Sigmund Sommer is an American success story. He began his business as a small building contractor in Brooklyn and eventually rose to being one of New York’s wealthiest real estate developers. During his lifetime, he was known as a generous man who gave to others and had a deep love of horses.
When Mr. Sommer passed away in 1980, he left behind an estate valued at almost $1 billion dollars. In the ensuing years, a fierce legal battle erupted over his estate involving a number of lawsuits and appeals, allegations of fraud, violations of fiduciary duty, coercion, and mismanagement of funds.
Mr. Sommer’s wife, Viola Sommer, claimed her lawyers improperly sold prime Manhattan real estate worth more than $100 million for only $10 million. Additionally, Mrs. Sommer and other family members alleged a Nassau County judge improperly authorized a half million dollar payment in guardianship fees to a friend and former judge without consulting records to validate the fees in question.
Mr. Leeds represented Mrs. Sommer in her case against her former attorney while fighting for the rights and interests of other heirs in their case alleging financial mismanagement of Mr. Sommer’s estate.
Contact New York Estate Litigation Attorney Lenard Leeds
Will contests require experience and a thorough knowledge of estate litigation. Mr. Leeds has the knowledge and experience needed to ensure your rights and interests are protected during a will contest or dispute arising during probate. For more information regarding Mr. Leeds and our practice, contact New York estate litigation attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, P.C. today.