Surrogate Nelida Malave-Gonzalez

Read Full-Text Decision

Nieschlag, a cousin of decedent’s predeceased spouse, moved for summary judgment and a determination that decedent’s collections, including stamps and coins, among other things, constituted tangible property specifically bequeathed to her under Article Two(A) of the will in this will construction action. Executor opposed the motion arguing the collections were part of the residuary estate that passed to an irrevocable trust established by decedent with various beneficiaries, including Nieschlag. Nieschlag argued that courts in other states have construed stamps and gold coins as constituting tangible personal property whether they were acquired for investment purposes or not. Executor alleged under New York case law, investment-grade stamps and coins were not personal or household effects. The court noted there was no mention of the collections in Article Two (A) of decedent’s will, finding currency was specifically excluded and there was nothing in the will suggesting an intention to include the collections in Article Two (A). Also, it stated Article Two (A) did not expand tangible personal property to mean personal property “of every kind,” but enumerated specific items conveyed. Hence, Nieschlag’s motion was denied, and executor’s granted.