In the Matter of the Estate of MOHAMED K. BADRUDDIN, Deceased. YASMIN KOOLSAM BADRUDDIN, Respondent; YASMIN NURANI KADERALI BADRUDDIN et al., Appellants. (And Another Related Proceeding.)
Calendar Date: June 8, 2017
Nurani Kaderali Badruddin, Queensbury, appellant pro se.
Salimah Badruddin, Glens Falls, appellant pro se.
Zaharah Badruddin, Glens Falls, appellant pro se.
Law Firm, PC, Saratoga Springs (Lawrence Elmen of counsel),
Before: Garry, J.P., Egan Jr., Lynch, Mulvey and Aarons, JJ.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
from an order of the Surrogate's Court of Warren County
(Hall Jr., S.), entered April 22, 2016, which, in a
proceeding pursuant to SCPA article 5, among other things,
denied respondents' motion to vacate a prior stipulation
K. Badruddin (hereinafter decedent) and petitioner were
married in Nairobi, Kenya in 1970 and are the parents of a
daughter who was born in Kenya in 1971. Decedent entered the
United States in 1974. Between 1974 and 1977, he filed
several documents with the Immigration and Naturalization
Service that identified petitioner as his then current
spouse; however, in a 1982 filing, he asserted that he and
petitioner had been divorced in Kenya in 1975. In 1984,
decedent married respondent Yasmin Nurani Kaderali Badruddin
(hereinafter Nurani) in Florida. They had two daughters,
respondents Zahara Badruddin and Salimah Badruddin.
died in May 2007, leaving a will that named "[his] wife,
Yasmin K. Badruddin" as the sole beneficiary and
executor of his estate. Thereafter, Nurani petitioned for
probate and letters testamentary in Surrogate's Court,
estimating decedent's estate to be worth approximately
$35, 000. The court admitted the will to probate and issued
letters testamentary to Nurani. In June 2009, Nurani filed a
sworn list of assets that, contrary to her previous
assessment of the estate's value, reported that decedent
owned nine parcels of real estate at the time of his death
with a total value of $2, 775, 000.
March 2009, petitioner filed a notice of claim against
decedent's estate, alleging that she and decedent had
been divorced in Kenya and seeking unpaid child support
pursuant to a 1974 Kenyan court order . Thereafter,
petitioner produced what she asserted were official Kenyan
documents showing that there was no record in Kenya of any
divorce judgment dissolving her marriage to decedent. In
January 2013, she filed a petition alleging that she was
still married to decedent at the time of his death and
seeking to exercise her elective share; she also sought
revocation of Nurani's letters testamentary, issuance of
letters testamentary to petitioner, and a declaration that
petitioner was decedent's wife and the "Yasmin K.
Badruddin" who was identified in the will as the sole
beneficiary . Nurani filed a motion to dismiss the
petition, relying upon, among other things, a document that
she asserted was a 1973 Kenyan divorce decree dissolving the
marriage of petitioner and decedent. Petitioner opposed the
motion, and each party challenged the validity of the
other's purported Kenyan records. In July 2014,
Surrogate's Court, as pertinent here, denied Nurani's
motion insofar as it sought to dismiss petitioner's right
of election claim, and ordered a hearing to determine the
identity of the surviving spouse. Nurani filed a notice of
Court issued multiple orders throughout the litigation
directing Nurani to file an accounting or to show cause why
her letters testamentary should not be revoked for her
failure to do so . Nurani did not comply with any of
these orders; no accounting was ever filed, nor did she
comply with numerous other court orders and discovery demands
seeking information about estate assets. Further, in March
2013, the court issued an order prohibiting Nurani from
transferring any estate assets. Following the entry of this
order, Nurani executed deeds that conveyed all but one of the
properties that she had previously listed as estate assets to
Salimah Badruddin. During the same time period, respondents
allegedly found eight deeds among decedent's effects that
were dated before decedent's death and purported to be
inter vivos transfers of all but one of the listed properties
from decedent to Nurani . Respondents recorded these deeds.
Additionally, Salimah Badruddin sold a property that Nurani
had previously listed as an estate asset to a third party for
$925, 000, and deposited the proceeds in a personal account.
Respondents did not advise Surrogate's Court or their
counsel of any of these transactions; they were ultimately
discovered in the fall of 2014.
October 2014, based upon its determination that Nurani had
disobeyed multiple court orders, Surrogate's Court
revoked her letters testamentary and appointed a special
administrator to handle the estate. The court again ordered
Nurani to file an accounting of her handling of
decedent's estate within 60 days. She did not do so.
evidentiary hearing was scheduled for November 7, 2014 to
address petitioner's application to hold respondents in
contempt for their violations of court orders. On that day,
rather than holding the hearing, the parties entered into a
so-ordered stipulation. In this stipulation they agreed that
petitioner would be treated as the surviving spouse for
purposes of exercising her right to an elective share, and
that Nurani would be the beneficiary under decedent's
will. Nurani agreed to waive all objections to
petitioner's claim to an elective share and to withdraw
her appeal from the court's denial of her motion to
dismiss that claim; petitioner withdrew her claim that she
was the beneficiary of the ...