Mason & Helmers
We Welcome Your Call
  • Phone 651-323-2548
  • Toll Free 877-389-5533

Millionaire murder leads to high stakes will contest

Nobody likes to see a criminal profit from illicit activity, even when it comes to probate proceedings. Twin Cities readers may be familiar with so-called "slayer statutes" that act to bar convicted murderers from benefiting from the estates of their victims. In one high profile case, the invocation of a slayer statute has led to a no holds barred will contest that has some potential beneficiaries contemplating an effort to paint the most likely heir as a conspirator to a murder plot.

Disputes over an estate estimated at $4.2 million might draw press attention under any circumstances, but the case of Ben Novack, heir to the glitzy Fontainebleu Hotel, has drawn extra attention due to the dime novel circumstances surrounding his death. The millionaire's wife stood first in line to inherit his family fortune under the terms of his will. That entitlement, though, looks certain to disappear under the state's slayer statute.

The wife has already been convicted of hiring hitmen to kill the millionaire in a brutal hotel room beating and will most likely be disqualified as a legitimate heir. If the slayer statute is invoked, her daughter stands to inherit a lump sum of $150,000 while the remainder of the millionaire's estate will pass in trust to two adult grandsons.

Other family members, however, have no intention of letting the fortune pass without a fight. They have a dual pronged strategy that first involves attempting to have the will invalidated under the theory that the millionaire's wife exercised undue influence to convince him to name her and her descendants as heirs in the will. The disinherited heirs allege that the millionaire's wife engaged in coercion under threat that she would expose his unusual sexual fetishes if he did not change his will.

If the coercion theory fails, the relatives say that they will try to connect the stepdaughter to the murder plot and have her eliminated as an heir pursuant to the slayer statute. A criminal jury already exonerated the stepdaughter, so the challengers may have to hang their hopes on the coercion theory.

Source: lohud.com, "Narcy Novack case: Daughter poised to inherit multimillion dollar estate," Jorge Fitz-Gibbon and Jonathan Bandler, Jan. 11, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

For Assistance with Estate Disputes & Other Matters, Contact Us

To learn more about the firm and how we can assist you,
contact Mason & Helmers in St. Paul, Minnesota. Call 651-323-2548 or 877-389-5533 (toll free) to set up an appointment.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review
rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories — legal ability and general ethical standards.

Contact Our Attorneys

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response
Mason & Helmers

Mason & Helmers
332 Minnesota Street
Suite W-3070
St. Paul, MN 55101

Toll Free: 877-389-5533
Phone: 651-323-2548
St. Paul Law Office Map