The former husband of Shele Covlin, who was murdered days before her will was executed, will be facing murder charges in 2012. On New Year’s Eve two years ago, Shele Danishefsky Covlin, the 47 year old UBS vice president, was close to getting a divorce from her husband. The day before she was murdered she had an appointment to meet with her estate planner. She planned to cut her husband out of her will entirely and leave her $1.5 million estate to their two kids, Anna and Myles. Before then, she had removed him as beneficiary of her employer sponsored insurance plans. Read more here.

Tragic events such as this call to mind the importance of prompt estate planning. In New York, if someone dies without a will, the estate passes through intestacy in a New York Surrogate’s Court, and is subject to the powers of government tax as well as other risky losses to the beneficiaries. Other forms of wills which are nationally recognized include Nuncupative Wills and Holographic Wills. Nuncupative wills are orally made wills with 2 witnesses and Holographic Wills are unwitnessed, but entirely done in the testator’s handwriting. In New York, a noncupative will is accepted only if it was executed by a member of the Armed Forces, or a person accompanying Armed Forces during a declared or undeclared war. Additionally advance directives such as a living will, health care power of attorney, and health care proxy help to protect as individual should they become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. A living will, for example, is a document signed by the creator which dictates what will happen in the event that the creator becomes sick, incapacitated, or face life support. A healthcare power of attorney gives someone else the power to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become sick and unable to make your own medical decisions.

The attorneys at Leeds, Morelli & Brown, P.C. handle a variety of intestate, probate and estate planning cases. For questions regarding estate planning, trusts, or wills please contact an attorney at the Leeds Brown Law, P.C. law firm for a free consultation at 1-888-556-2529 or visit the firm’s website at