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MHH Prevents Ex-Boyfriend From Misappropriating Terminally Ill Decedent’s Assets

MHH’s client is the decedent’s mother. She retained MHH after learning that the beneficiary designations on three of her daughter’s assets totaling approximately $1,000,000 were suspiciously changed in favor of an old boyfriend just months before her daughter tragically died of cancer.  Stephen Ginsberg and Karen Davakis of MHH moved expeditiously to freeze the financial assets in dispute, attach the BMW X5 automobile defendant purchased with ill-gotten funds, and conduct expedited discovery. Discovery revealed Defendant’s undue influence over decedent was even more substantial than plaintiff initially suspected. While decedent was incapacitated and near death, defendant executed a calculated scheme whereby he arranged to be alone with decedent on specific days, and on those days, he obtained the usernames and passwords to all of decedent’s personal and financial accounts, and then unilaterally caused decedent to change the payable-on-death beneficiaries of her assets to himself.

After expedited discovery, MHH moved for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims. At the conclusion of the motion, the Supreme Court of New York, Commercial Division, by Hon. Andrew Borrok, issued a written decision granting plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on her causes of action grounded in incapacity, undue influence, conversion, unjust enrichment, and intentional interference with present or prospective economic benefits, voiding the changes naming defendant as the payable-on-death beneficiary of decedent’s assets. In its decision, the Court expressly recognized defendant’s “blatant manipulation and undue influence over [decedent] when she lacked capacity,” and specifically held that decedent was ”not lucid when she allegedly transferred funds to defendant, including changing the beneficiaries designation on her [assets].” This decision was an emotional and triumphant win for the client and for MHH.

Millicent Mendez, Millicent Mendez, Ashanti Cummings vs. Edgar A Harvey-Lewis, New York Life Insurance Company, Bank of America, N.A., Rayan Wilson