If an estate is especially large or complex, probably the single best insurance against probate litigation is designating a bank or trust company to act as personal representative of the estate (or "executor" if you’re in the North East). A corporate PR will have the resources and expertise to get the job done while avoiding the possible land mines (see: Trust in your bank?). This service doesn’t come for free, but it’s usually exponentially cheaper than litigation.
NEWARK, N.J. – A New Jersey judge next month will consider whether to remove one of the executors handling the affairs of the late Celia Cruz, a singer beloved as the "Queen of Salsa."
The hearing is to be held in response to charges by the executor that co-executor Luis Falcon has been spending money intended for Cruz’s husband, ailing trumpeter Pedro Knight.
In addition to scheduling the Feb. 9 hearing, Superior Court Judge Peter E. Doyne this week appointed a New York lawyer to represent Knight’s interests as guardian.
Falcon has drained funds from accounts for Knight, made "extravagant expenditures" and failed to account for transfers of more than $1 million from Cruz’s estate, according to a lawsuit filed by co-executor Omer Pardillo, of Cliffside Park.
In addition, Falcon is exercising improper influence over Knight, who is 85 and suffering from dementia, the lawsuit claimed. After Cruz died in 2003, Knight moved to California with Falcon, the lawsuit said.