With the race to find the codicil to Mikkos’ will heating up on GENERAL HOSPITAL, Soaps In Depth turned to an expert in New York estate planning to explain what Valentin and Nikolas’ rights actually are. By tracking down the codicil to his grandfather’s will (which would disinherit any of Mikkos’ children born out of wedlock), Nikolas is hoping to reclaim the Cassadine family fortune from Uncle Valentin. But if the codicil was written in Greece — like the updated will which designated Valentin as Mikkos’ rightful heir to begin with — would it even be valid in New York? “It doesn’t matter that it’s a Greek will,” explained attorney Keren G. Birnbaum, who practices in trust and estate planning and administration. “A will is valid in New York state as long as it follows the basic requirements for will execution in New York.”
So just as the will Valentin brought over with him from Greece was probated there and then validated in the United States, so, too, must this new document once it’s found. “The codicil is a supplement or amendment to the will and needs to be executed in the same formal [type of] ceremony as a will,” said Birnbaum. “Codicils are mostly out of practice at this point, because you may as well write a whole new will.”
Though Laura and Kevin have suggested that the codicil might be hidden within Helena’s portrait, in order to be valid, it would have to be an official document found tucked into the frame or tracked down via the clues, not text written in the painting itself. “The only way you could have a handwritten will or codicil is if you’re in the armed forces during actual service or a mariner at sea,” Birnbaum explained.
If the codicil crew does find the document, it would displace Valentin as the heir because “the most recent will is the one that controls,” noted Birnbaum.
But the truth is, Mikkos’ bastard son may still have rights if he can prove that Helena had a hand in all of this! Concluded Birnbaum: “If Mikkos’ widow forced him to create the codicil and he did it under undue influence, force or duress, Valentin has grounds to contest it.”
For more GH news, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine
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