Bulgakov's stories about death and inheritance from a Russian-speaking lawyer in the USA - ForumDaily
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Bulgakov's stories about death and inheritance from a Russian-speaking lawyer in the USA

Man is mortal, but that would not be so bad.
The bad news is that he is sometimes suddenly mortal, that’s the trick!
(Michael Bulgakov)

Since I opened in New York your office, I had to change my specialization: international divorces, disputes about children and other acute conflicts were replaced by quiet, sometimes silent cases - inheritance cases. There is an opinion that you will not truly know a man until you go through a divorce with him. The same can be said about inheritance - you cannot claim to know your relatives if you did not share the inheritance with them.

In this column I decided to share a few stories. Each of them has its own morality. I hope everyone who reads this article will find something important in it. And I will probably add to this text as stories come into my collection.

1. Why is it important to get a divorce on time?

Because life is fleeting and you never know when it will end. Mary fought with her husband over the location of her divorce case. She considered the US jurisdiction to be correct, where she would be entitled to large alimony payments, but he wanted to get a divorce in Russia so as not to pay anything.

I flew to Russia for the trial. And there they left the divorce suit without consideration, because they believed that the matter was within the jurisdiction of an American court. But the husband was not a mistake - the court in New York considered that the case was within the jurisdiction of the Russian court.

And the couple remained married for the next few years, until the husband decided to go to his mother in St. Petersburg at the beginning of the pandemic: he slipped on the tiles in the bathroom and never woke up - he died in the hospital without regaining consciousness.

The wife entered into the inheritance and received the lion's share of his property as a wife to the detriment of his parents and child. As a result, the family lost due to the fact that the son did not solve the problem of divorce in time.

2. Make your decision final before you act.

Anton, who lived in America, decided to divorce his Russian wife. I filed a lawsuit on his behalf, the court scheduled a hearing in a month and considered the case from the first “shot.”

It would seem what luck. But no…

“Why so fast? — a dissatisfied client asked me. “I haven’t decided anything yet, we may still make peace.”

My rhetorical question: why did you need to contact a lawyer and pay money if you haven’t decided anything yet - remained unvoiced. In the end, the customer is always right (almost). And if he does not want to get a divorce, then that is his right.

On the subject: Why an expert in Russian law is so necessary in the USA: the story of Karina Duval

He asked to start the appeal process so that during the appeal hearing he could decide whether he wanted a divorce or not. The fact is that divorce in Russia comes into force from the moment the court decision on divorce comes into force. And the court decision comes into force a month later (in the absence of an appeal) or after the case is considered by the appellate court. And the parties, directly during the appeal process, can, by mutual agreement, decide to save the marriage.

But Anton did not have the chance to make this fateful decision - he died two days before the appeal. What does this mean from the point of view of matrimonial and inheritance law? That he is still married and his wife is his heir.

Again, an intelligent and promising young man Anton could leave his property to his parents and children, but it remained to his wife, from whom he was divorced within five minutes.

Some of you will object: “What about the will? Could you have been prepared?" Of course, if I knew where you would fall, I would probably lay down straws. How many of you have a will at 40? Don't think. Although, I agree, this is a necessary thing.

Photo: iStock.com/simpson33

3. Man is suddenly mortal

Valery entered my office with a brisk, energetic step. In St. Petersburg, first his mother died, and then his father. He did not apply for inheritance either after his mother or after his father. It is assumed that the father actually accepted the inheritance after the death of the mother. But after the death of the father, actual adoption is no longer possible; legal action is needed.

The deadline for entering into inheritance after the death of the father expired on February 28. St. Petersburg relatives traditionally considered that a son living in America does not need anything (he is already rich), and unanimously filed for an inheritance without being first-line heirs (that is, they are called upon to inherit only if the son does not declare his rights ).

And the son held out until the last. We did everything possible and impossible so that before the evening of February 28, a notary in Russia received an application for inheritance. And on March 4, Valery died. His body was found in the morning in his apartment, in the bathroom. Of course, it is very impressive to declare your rights on the last day of the term. It was as if he knew he had a few days left to live and wanted to leave an inheritance to his wife and children.

Now the inheritance matter will go on a different track, leaving distant St. Petersburg relatives behind the scenes.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants, and helpful tips about life in the Big Appleread it all on ForumDaily New Y

4. Completely detective story

It happened in St. Petersburg in the spring of 2023. A young athletic guy did not survive after his bicycle collided with a car. And since he had nothing on him except his sports uniform (including documents), they could not identify him.

The guy’s body was in the morgue for 8 months, until his ex-wife, who lived with their common child in America, began searching for the man after the dad didn’t wish his son a Happy New Year. This was very uncharacteristic of him. He might not see or hear the child for a long time, but congratulations on the New Year and the birthday that follows soon after are sacred.

“Something is wrong here,” the ex-wife thought and tried to call him herself. Well, I spun this detective story. Moral: maintain relationships with your loved ones, because sometimes life ends very suddenly.

Material prepared in partnership with

Karina Duval - lawyer, notary, expert in international law

Russian registration: #78/857
NYS registration: 4775086
Notary public, registration: 02DU6376542

tel: + 7 (921) 946-0582 (in Russia) / + 1 (718) 704-8558 (in USA)
[email protected],

inheritance Educational program loudspeakers notary Karina Duval
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