Executors and other fiduciaries in New York, such as Administrators, are given numerous powers to help them handle estate settlement including the collection of estate assets. A fundamental job of a fiduciary such as an Executor in Manhattan or Westchester or other New York locality, is to protect and collect estate assets.
Estates, Powers and Trusts Law section 11-1.1 is entitled "Fiduciaries' Powers "and sets forth many of the powers that a fiduciary can exercise. For example, paragraph (b)(3) of the statute authorizes a fiduciary "To invest and reinvest property of the estate or trust under the provisions of the Will, deed or other instrument or as otherwise provided by law."
Estate assets can be varied and range from common items such as bank accounts, stock portfolios, and residential real estate to more less common interests such as royalty earnings relating to publications, inventions or compositions or oil, gas or mining, or various types of business entities such as limited liability companies or family business corporations. Estate assets may also be in the form of life insurance, annuities and retirement funds.
In each instance, it is necessary that the estate fiduciary identify all of the estate assets, collect the assets and distribute the assets to the estate beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the Last Will or the laws of intestacy, as the case may be.
In many instances, estate assets may not be readily identified. For example, an article by Eric Gardner that appeared in the Hollywood Reporter on August 31, 2011 "Elvis Presley Estate Sues to Recover Ringtone Revenue" talks about a lawsuit recently filed in Germany by Elvis Presley's estate which seeks payment for "new media income such as ringtones, downloads and entertainment apps."
Another type of estate asset that is more common is a recovery due to the wrongful death of the decedent. However, the damages that the estate may be entitled to due to the decedent's death may not always be apparent. As was recently reported in the Beverly Hills Courier on August 17, 2011 in a report entitled "Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Christian Brando's Death Settled" the ex-wife of the late actor, Marlon Brando, had commenced a lawsuit against a doctor due to the death of her son, Christian. As reported, the lawsuit alleged that due to the doctor's negligence, Christian's estate was "harmed because when he [Christian] died, he lost the benefit of an inheritance from his father's [Marlon Brando] estate."
I have acted as the attorney for Executors and Administrators on many occasions and helped my clients identify, protect and collect estate assets.
New York Probate Attorney, Jules Martin Haas, has represented clients over the past 30 years in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as throughout New York City, in estate administration and settlement and probate proceedings. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding these matters, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 for an initial consultation.