Case Notes in


First published: Apr 2010
Warner v. Kaplan

This case raises issues concerning the rights and obligations of an estate when a person dies while a contract is pending. The court first explained that, where a contract – even if merely in its printed form – provides that it shall be binding on the parties’ heirs, that means that if a person dies before the contract is consummated, their estate must complete the contract. The court was very clear that if the parties wanted a different result, they should have negotiated and amended the form contract. The other aspect concerns the purchaser’s obligations to the co-op under the contract. The court explained that, where an estate is responsible to complete the contract, it must comply with the terms of the contract and submit its own application to the board for approval. Because the estate here did not submit the application, the court did not consider what would have happened in the event that the board – which had approved the purchaser – refused to approve the estate. While we cannot be certain (particularly because we are neither familiar with the specific terms of the contract nor the assets held by the estate), we believe that if the board did not approve the estate, the estate would have been able to recover the down payment. However, the estate did not submit an application and, as a result, lost the down payment without any opinion as to whether it would have been an acceptable shareholder.

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First published: Jul 2004
129 East 69th Street Corp. v. Estate of Louise M. Anderson

Because the defendant here was not properly identified, the co-op's action to recover possession was dismissed. Service on the executor of the estate of a deceased shareholder was not only ambiguous, but also defective under state law. As a result, the action was delayed and additional legal effort was required.

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