516-227-0700

John R.
Morken

Estate Litigation

Partner

Uniondale

T: 516-227-0731

About John

John R. Morken concentrates his practice in the area of trust and estate litigation in the Surrogate’s Courts and other courts throughout New York. With extensive trial and appellate experience, his practice includes probate contests, discovery proceedings, accountings, and commercial litigation related to estates. Among his many ongoing notable matters, John serves as legal counsel for the Clark family in the estate of Huguette Clark.

A prolific author and lecturer on estate litigation topics, John’s articles have appeared in the NYSBA Trusts and Estates Law Section Newsletter and in the NYSBA Journal.

He has lectured several times to the Surrogate’s Association of the State of New York. He has chaired and co-chaired the Trust and Estates Law Section annual meeting, presenting programs that have included: Settling Litigation in the Surrogate’s Court, Bearing the Draftsman’s Burden: The Shifting Standards of Capacity, and The Trial of a Will Contest.

Mr. Morken’s many significant victories include the following:

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Experience

  • Successfully defended at trial a widow against a claim that she had abandoned her husband and therefore had no interest in his estate.
  • Successfully won a Surrogate’s Court verdict in a plane crash case, where the issue was whether the husband or wife died first.
  • Successfullly won a Surrogate’s Court battle over an estate’s interest in a law firm, where it was determined that under BCL §1510, the estate was only entitled to the book value of the decedent’s interest in the open, contingency fee cases in existence at his death.
  • Successfully defended a Will in an oft-cited case, holding that summary judgment should apply so as to admit the Will to probate without a trial.
  • Successfully represented the objecting members of the Huguette Clark family in a celebrated probate contest, coming to a settlement as the jury was being picked for trial, and was also successful in recovering monies purportedly given by the decedent to various nurses and doctors.
  • Successfully defended at trial gifts made by a decedent against allegations that they were a result of forgery.
  • Successfully had a constructive trust imposed at trial, enforcing an oral agreement not to exercise a power of appointment.
  • Successfully argued in the New York State Court of Appeals that a verdict after trial in the Surrogate’s Court should be reversed and the petition dismissed, in a case involving a contract to make a Will.
  • Successfully had a decree admitting a Will to probate vacated because of suspicious circumstances in the Will’s creation and execution.
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Credentials

Education

  • New York University School of Law
  • Swarthmore College

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S.D.C., Eastern District of New York
  • U.S.D.C., Southern District of New York

Affiliations & Appointments

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, 2001
  • New York State Bar Association, Past Chair, Trusts and Estates Law Section and Litigation and Legislation Committees

Articles & Advisories

HEARSAY ISSUES IN SURROGATE’S COURT HEARINGS AND TRIALS

Presented by John R. Morken, Esq. to the Surrogate’s Association of the State of New York, May 2018. Introduction A…

June 04, 2018

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Hearsay Issues in Surrogate’s Court Proceedings

By John R. Morken Reprinted with permission from:  NYSBA Trusts and Estates Law Section Journal, Winter 2014, Vol. 47, No.4,…

January 20, 2015

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Usurpation of Trust Opportunities and Self-Dealing

Reprinted with permission from: New York State Bar Association Journal, June, 2011, Vol. 83, No. 5, published by the New…

June 01, 2011

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Early Detection of Possible Pitfalls in Fiduciary Obligations Can Prevent Later Problems – Journal | January 2002

From the fiduciary’s perspective, the conflicts of interest that generally arise are traceable to the fiduciary relationship itself. Early recognition…

January 05, 2002

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Estates with Multiple Fiduciaries Pose Ethical and Practical Issues for Attorneys and Clients Alike – Journal | 2001

The conflicts that can arise in the representation of estate or trust fiduciaries are limited only by the imagination of…

January 04, 2002

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Steps Taken While Testator is Alive Can Play a Key Role in Upholding Client’s Estate Plan After Death – Journal | December 1999

A few careful steps taken during a testator’s life can minimize the chances of a will contest and protect the…

December 04, 1999

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News

The Tricky Task of Clarifying Mental Competency

June 03, 2011

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Farrell Fritz Launches New York Trusts & Estates Litigation Blog

Farrell Fritz trusts and estates associates, Jaclene L. D’Agostino, Robert M. Harper and Frank T. Santoro will also contribute to…

January 26, 2009

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Press Releases

29 Farrell Fritz Attorneys Recognized as 2019 Leading Lawyers in Their Respective Areas of Practice

Farrell Fritz has a combined total of 29 attorneys selected to the 2019 New York Metro Super Lawyers and New…

September 17, 2019

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Ten Farrell Fritz Attorneys Named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2020

Farrell Fritz congratulates ten attorneys on being selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020.…

August 15, 2019

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30 Farrell Fritz Attorneys Recognized as 2018 Leading Lawyers in Their Respective Areas of Practice

Farrell Fritz had a combined total of 30 attorneys selected to the 2018 New York Metro Super Lawyers and New…

September 13, 2018

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Ten Farrell Fritz Attorneys Named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2019

Farrell Fritz congratulates ten attorneys on being selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019.…

August 09, 2018

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Farrell Fritz Receives Tier 1 Ranking in 2018 U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ “Best Law Firms”

Farrell Fritz is pleased to announce that, for the sixth consecutive year, the firm has received a Tier 1 Ranking…

November 01, 2017

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31 Farrell Fritz Attorneys Recognized as 2017 Leading Lawyers in their Respective Areas of Practice

Farrell Fritz had a combined total of 31 attorneys selected to the 2017 New York Metro Super Lawyers and New…

September 20, 2017

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Ten Farrell Fritz Attorneys Named to The Best Lawyers in America 2018

Farrell Fritz congratulates ten attorneys on being selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2018.…

August 15, 2017

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30 Farrell Fritz Attorneys Recognized as 2016 Leading Lawyers in their Respective Areas of Practice

Farrell Fritz had a combined total of 30 attorneys selected to the 2016 New York Metro Super Lawyers and New…

September 21, 2016

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Farrell Fritz & Estate Litigation Partners Receive Ranking in the Prestigious Chambers High Net Worth Publication

Farrell Fritz proudly announces that the firm has been recognized as one of two New York Leading Firms in Chambers…

August 30, 2016

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Nine Farrell Fritz Partners Named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2017

Farrell Fritz congratulates nine partners on being selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017.…

August 16, 2016

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30 Farrell Fritz Attorneys Recognized as 2015 Leading Lawyers in their Respective Areas of Practice

Farrell Fritz had a combined total of 30 attorneys selected to the 2015 New York Super Lawyers and New York…

September 16, 2015

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Seven Farrell Fritz Partners Named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2016

Farrell Fritz congratulates seven partners on being selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016.…

August 21, 2015

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30 Farrell Fritz Attorneys Recognized as 2014 Leading Lawyers in their Respective Areas of Practice

Farrell Fritz had a combined total of 30 attorneys named to the 2014 New York Super Lawyers and New York…

September 23, 2014

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Six Farrell Fritz Partners Named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2015 List

Farrell Fritz congratulates six partners on being selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015.…

August 18, 2014

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Farrell Fritz Attorneys Recognized as Leading Lawyers in their Respective Areas of Practice

Farrell Fritz congratulates ten partners and one counsel on being selected for the 2012 New York Super Lawyers – Metro…

October 11, 2012

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Farrell Fritz Partners Named to the New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists

Farrell Fritz congratulates seven partners on being selected for inclusion on the New York Super Lawyers 2011 – Metro Edition…

October 27, 2011

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Five Farrell Fritz Partners Named to 2010 Super Lawyers List

Farrell Fritz congratulates five attorneys on being selected for inclusion in the 2010 New York Super Lawyers®. The five partners…

October 15, 2010

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Five Partners Named to 2009 Super Lawyers List

Farrell Fritz congratulates five attorneys on being selected for inclusion in 2009 New York Super Lawyers® – Metro Edition. The…

October 16, 2009

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Five Farrell Fritz Partners Named to 2008 Super Lawyers® List

October 02, 2008

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Recognition

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Chambers High Net Worth

2016 Leading Individual, NY Private Wealth: Disputes

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Best Lawyers in America

2015–2020 Litigation - Trusts & Estates

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Super Lawyers

New York Metro annually from 2008-Present

Community Work

John is very involved in the work of his church, at which he serves as an elder, and with respect to mission efforts in West Africa and Haiti.