New York Appellate Court to Hear One of the Largest Will Contests in History: Grandson Alleges Fraud and Undue Influence in Estimated Billion Dollar Estate

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The Law Office of Michael C. Rakower, P.C. and the Mayer Law Group LLC represent Michael Corbett in an estate dispute concerning real estate assets in New York City with an estimated value of at least $1 billion. Mr. Corbett appeals a lower court ruling concerning his probate challenge of a will that effectively disinherits Corbett and other family members as beneficiaries under a prior will. Under the new will, one member of the family will receive the entire estate. Oral argument on this appeal will be heard at 2:00 pm on Thursday, October 29, 2009 at New York State's Appellate Division, First Department, at 27 Madison Avenue. A press conference will follow.

The Law Office of Michael C. Rakower, P.C. and the Mayer Law Group LLC represent Michael Corbett in an estate dispute before New York's Appellate Division concerning real estate assets in New York City with an estimated value of at least $1 billion. The properties that are the subject of the appeal were owned by Michael Corbett's grandmother, Mollie Bender, until she passed away on July 1, 2007. Whereas a prior will bequeathed Mollie Bender's entire estate in equal parts to her two children and two grandchildren, the will submitted for probate leaves the entire estate to one person, Mollie's son, Neil Bender. Grandson Michael Corbett alleges that Bender used undue influence and fraud to obtain a will that disinherits everyone else in the family and leaves the entire estate to him.

Oral argument for this will contest will be heard on Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 2:00 pm before New York State's Appellate Division, First Department, at 27 Madison Avenue in New York City. A press conference will follow outside the courthouse upon the conclusion of oral argument.

The dispute, concerning assets estimated to be worth more than five times the value of the property in the Astor estate litigation, focuses on as many as 150 buildings assembled by William Gottlieb - the legendary Manhattan real estate magnate - throughout Greenwich Village, the West Village and Chelsea. These properties were publicly valued at one billion dollars in the year 2000 and could be worth more than that today. This estate contains some of the crown jewels of New York including architecturally significant structures and homes that were once the haunts of literary and artistic luminaries like Herman Melville, Henry James and Dylan Thomas. The outcome of this legal battle will determine the future of real estate in downtown Manhattan for years to come.

Mr. Corbett's consolidated appeal bears Index Nos. 4037/99 and 2497/07 and arises from decisions by the Surrogate's Court, New York County.

Michael C. Rakower, named in 2007 by Lawyers USA as one of the top eight "Up and Coming Lawyers" in the nation and in 2006 by the New York State Bar Association as New York's Young Lawyer of the Year, represents Mr. Corbett in this appeal. Also appearing for Mr. Corbett is public interest attorney Carl Mayer, who has been profiled on CBS Sixty Minutes, in the New York Times and has appeared in most major media outlets.

For more information about the Law Office of Michael C. Rakower, P.C. please contact:
Rachel Jordan
Law Office of Michael C. Rakower, P.C.
(212) 660-5550
info (at) rakowerlaw (dot) com
http://www.rakowerlaw.com

For more information about the Mayer Law Group LLC please contact:
Carl Mayer
Mayer Law Group LLC
W (212) 382-4686; C (609) 462-7979
carlmayer (at) carlmayer (dot) com
http://www.carlmayer.com
For more information about the properties that are the subject of this dispute please go to:
http://www.savegreenwichvillage.com
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