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Fourth Department – Transfer of property: Matter of Cora A. Alsante

By: Daily Record Staff//August 12, 2022

Fourth Department – Transfer of property: Matter of Cora A. Alsante

By: Daily Record Staff//August 12, 2022

New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department

Transfer of property

Power of attorney – Gifts – Compensation for caregiving

Matter of Cora A. Alsante

CA 20-01422

Appealed from Supreme Court, Onondaga County

Background: The respondents appealed from an order that denied their motion for summary judgment dismissing the petition. The respondents are two of 12 of the decedent’s children. They were the primary caregivers for the decedent who suffered from severe disabilities prior to his death. The decedent executed a power of attorney authorizing five of his children to act on his behalf with respect to certain transactions. It did not authorize gifts. Two of the respondent’s siblings conveyed the decedent’s home to the respondents as joint tenants, with the decedent retaining a life estate in the property. The court concluded that the transfer was an improper gift.

Ruling: The Appellate Division reversed. The court held that, even assuming that the presumption that as the parties are related the transaction was not for consideration of services rendered, the parties demonstrated that there was an agreement that their caregiving services. Affidavits from two attorneys-in-fact who voted with the respondent to transfer the property averred that the transfer was intended to compensate the respondents for their continued care of the decedent and that the respondents’ services allowed the decedent to remain in his home. Each averred that they knowingly agreed to the transfer knowing that the transfer would diminish their own share of the estate.

Daniel R. Rose, of Costello, Cooney & Fearon, for the respondents-appellants; Janet D. Callahan, of Hancock Estabrook, for the petitioner-respondent.

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