One of the more unique estate planning feuds in recent memory remains under investigation, three years following the death of the family matriarch that started the debacle. While few families descend into physical violence, our New York estate planning lawyers appreciate that this case is a stark reminder of the mix of extreme emotions often present in these cases.
According to a Seacoast Online report, when Eugenia Boies died in 2009 at the age of 96 she left a family fortune valued at $12 million. The estate had mostly passed to her when her longtime husband passed away in 2007. The family wealth originated on the husband's side of the family, dating as far back as a Civil-War era gunpowder company. The wealth included over a million dollars in the bank, real estate in North Hampton, and millions in stocks.
Before her death Eugenia named her nephew, Peter, as one of three executors of her estate. Shortly after Eugenia passing, while the probate process was underway, Peter and his wife were awoken in the middle of the middle to a drive by shooting, with dozens of high-caliber bullets shot into the family's bedroom. The family home was riddled, but fortunately the couple survived the ordeal.
Investigations into the motivation behind the shooting eventually led to questions about Peter's position as executor of the estate and potential inheritance.
According to reports, Peter suggested this is aunt name a third executor to manage the estate so that there would be an odd number if necessary. His aunt then asked Peter to be that third executor, along with a trust company and local estate planning attorney.
Eugenia's will left everything to her two children and her nephew, Peter. Records indicate that her nephew was added later, in the last years of the elderly woman's life. This addition of the nephew was apparently the cause of the family feud. One of the woman's two children was reportedly so anger at his inclusion that she was heard to say she "wanted to kill him."
In police investigations following the shooting, one of the two children told authorities that she felt Peter had ulterior motives for befriending their mother and helping with finances near the end of her life. She denied committing the crime but bizarrely noted that "maybe, Peter got what he deserved."
Three years later no arrests have yet to be made in the ordeal. In fact, three years later, the probate process itself has yet to be entirely resolved, with various assets still awaiting final disbursement.
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