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New York Penal Law § 190.30: Unlawfully Concealing a Will

New York Penal Law § 190.30 defines the crime of unlawfully concealing a will, which is a serious offense that involves intentionally hiding, destroying, or altering a will for personal gain or to cause harm to others. Under this section of the law, a person can be charged with unlawfully concealing a will if they:

  • Intentionally conceal, destroy, or alter a will that they know or believe exists
  • Do so with the intent to defraud or deceive another person or to cause harm to the rightful beneficiaries of the will

The statute applies to all types of wills, including those that are written, oral, or otherwise recorded. It also applies to all types of individuals who may be involved in the handling of a will, including family members, lawyers, and other parties.

To prove the crime of unlawfully concealing a will, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the accused acted intentionally and with the specific intent to defraud or deceive another person or to cause harm to the rightful beneficiaries of the will.

It is important to note that the crime of unlawfully concealing a will is distinct from other types of will-related crimes, such as forgery, fraud, or undue influence. While these crimes may also involve the alteration or misuse of a will, they are typically prosecuted under different statutes and carry different penalties. Furthermore, to protect their interests in the estate, the beneficiaries of the estate may pursue estate litigation against the person who concealed the will.

Example

People v. Eames, 11 A.D.3d 844 (N.Y. App. Div. 2004). In this case, the defendant was charged with unlawfully concealing a will in violation of New York Penal Law § 190.30. The defendant was the former girlfriend of the decedent, and was accused of concealing a will that had been executed by the decedent in favor of his children. The prosecution claimed that the defendant had destroyed the will in an attempt to prevent the decedent's children from inheriting his estate.

At trial, the prosecution introduced evidence of the existence of the will and testimony from witnesses who had seen the will prior to its disappearance. The defendant argued that the prosecution had failed to establish that she had concealed or destroyed the will, and that the evidence was insufficient to support the charge. However, the jury found the defendant guilty of unlawfully concealing a will in violation of New York Penal Law § 190.30.

On appeal, the defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction, as the prosecution had not established that she had concealed or destroyed the will. However, the appellate court found that the evidence was sufficient, as the testimony of witnesses who had seen the will prior to its disappearance, combined with the defendant's knowledge of the will and her lack of explanation for its disappearance, supported the inference that she had unlawfully concealed the will. The court affirmed the conviction and sentence of three years' probation.

Related Offenses
  1. Issuing a bad check: New York Penal Law section 190.10
  2. False advertising: New York Penal Law section 190.20
Sentence

The penalties for unlawfully concealing a will are severe. It is classified as a Class E felony, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 4 years in prison. Additionally, the accused may be required to pay substantial fines and restitution to the rightful beneficiaries of the will.

New York Penal Law § 190.30: Unlawfully Concealing a Will

A person is guilty of unlawfully concealing a will when, with intent to defraud, he conceals, secretes, suppresses, mutilates or destroys a will, codicil or other testamentary instrument. Unlawfully concealing a will is a class E felony.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are arrested and charged with unlawfully concealing a will, it is crucial to immediately seek the guidance of an experienced New York criminal lawyer immediately who can help you understand the charges against you, assess the evidence, and develop a defense strategy tailored to your case. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Nassau County, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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