Surrogate Nora Anderson
Petitioner, preliminary co-executor, sought to revoke preliminary letters testimentary issued to Hyman, his co-fiduciary, and disqualify him from serving as executor alleging he engaged in self-serving and fraudulent transactions before and after decedent’s death while alleging to act for decedent’s benefit in his capacity as decedent’s attorney, and estate fiduciary. Petitioner claimed he discovered promissory notes of nearly $500,000 reflecting loans decedent made to a company of which Hyman is a 25 percent owner, officer and employee, noting decedent made monthly payments of nearly $1 million for the company’s “overhead expenses,” including Hyman’s salary. Petitioner made a demand for repayment, but the company, allegedly under Hyman’s instruction, did not comply. Petitioner argued Hyman’s substantial interest as owner, officer and employee of the subject company, of which estate was a creditor, conflicted with his role as the estate’s fiduciary. The court agreed finding Hyman’s conduct after decedent’s death raised “serious concerns,” and his position unequivocally showed he placed the interests of the company above the estate’s. The allegations warranted the temporary suspension of Hyman’s preliminary letters.