Articles Posted in Estate Planning

The planning of an estate in New York involves a number of basic considerations. Many recent articles in the news have drawn attention to the need for creating an effective plan. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has also published numerous posts regarding the planning and administration of estates.

A recent post by Kelli B. Grant on September 16, 2016 entitled “Don’t Make These Celebrities’ Estate-Planning Blunders” points to a number of basic areas that everyone should review regarding their planning needs. In her article, Ms. Grant reports that even the rich and famous fall victim to even the most basic problems. For example, the article refers to the recent death of the rock star Prince who failed to prepare a Last Will. Ms. Grant lists other notables such as Sonny Bono, Jimi Hendrix and Pablo Picasso who also neglected to memorialize their desires in a Will. Continue reading

New York Estate Planning requires that the creator of a Will or Trust clearly set forth his intentions. It is very important that a Last Will or a Trust clearly state the manner in which a person wants his assets to be distributed. Serious problems arise when a Trust or a Will contain language that is ambiguous or provides for dispositions that have a negative impact on the estate plan. One way to avoid these complications is to prepare the documents using clear and direct language. Also, the creator and the estate attorney should review the papers a number of times before they are finalized and signed. However, all potential problems cannot always be prevented. A number of recent Court cases provide examples where Trust language can have a costly effect on Trust administration. Continue reading

Planning an Estate includes the preparation of a number of different documents. These can include a Last Will, Living Will and Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney and Living Trust. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has discussed the importance of estate planning in many articles.

A very important aspect in the preparation of planning documents is the necessity to clearly and precisely set forth the directions and provisions regarding the disposition of property. The primary and obvious reason for clarity is so the testator’s wishes can be easily carried out by the estate fiduciary. If the Last Will is clear as to the bequests and assets that the estate beneficiaries are to receive, the goals of estate planning can be easily achieved. Additionally, unambiguous provisions in estate planning papers can help avoid controversies among beneficiaries that result in Estate Litigation. Continue reading

New York Estate Planning Lawyers need to discuss many different issues with their clients. Among the most important considerations is the selection of Executors and Trustees. An Executor is nominated in a Last Will and Testament. Typically, the Will also provides the name of successor Executors in the event the primary nominee cannot or will not serve. A Trustee is also nominated to act in a Will provision regarding a testamentary trust. This is a trust that is created in the Will. There are also trustees that are nominated in trusts that are created outside of a Will in so-called inter vivos trusts. A Living Trust or Grantor Trust is a typical example.

When choosing a fiduciary such as an Executor or Trustee the creator should give the selection some basic considerations.  These include some understanding as to whether the person nominated will accept the appointment.  Some individuals do not want to accept the responsibility of acting as an Executor or Trustee or may not have the time to devote to this task.  When selecting a fiduciary, the creator may want to first ask the prospective nominee if they would accept the appointment. Continue reading

Real estate holdings in an estate may constitute the most valuable estate asset. A decedent may have owned a residence such as a single or multi-family house, a cooperative apartment or a condominium unit. In view of the increase in value these assets have experienced, the disposition of such interests is very important to estate settlement and the estate beneficiaries.

New York City Estate Lawyers encounter many estate planning matters and estate administration situations where real estate must be dealt with. When planning an estate with real estate, a testator needs to consider the best or most likely disposition for the real estate upon death. In many cases, the best course to follow may be to have the real estate sold and the net proceeds distributed to the estate beneficiaries. When there are numerous beneficiaries, it can be very cumbersome for a number of different people to own the property. This type of situation often leads to disputes among beneficiaries since some may want to sell the property while others may want to keep the property for rental purposes or to live in. Continue reading

An estate plan in New York is very important to establish the disposition of assets. Documents that may be included in estate and advanced planning include a Last Will, Living Will, Health Care Proxy, Durable Power of Attorney and Living Trust. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has discussed these papers in many earlier articles.

Recently, there have been a number of celebrity cases where advanced planning and estate issues have made headlines. One such case involves Sumner Redstone who was the head of Viacom which owns CBS. Mr. Redstone’s capacity to handle his affairs was called into question and his former companion began a lawsuit to enforce the provisions of his healthcare directive after she was prevented from executing her authority under the document. In an article in hollywoodreporter.com on April 27, 2016 by Ashley Cullins entitled “Judge Rules Sumner Redstone Trial Will Be Public”, it was reported that a trial regarding the companion’s lawsuit is set to begin later this month. As reported by Ms. Cullins, the trial judge has ruled that the trial will be open to the public. The Court is also set to decide whether Mr. Redstone must give testimony. Continue reading

Estate Planning in New York involves the preparation of a number of different papers. Included among these documents is a Last Will and Testament. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has posted many articles concerning the importance of preparing a Last Will as well as the need for the Will to clearly express a person’s intentions.

When a person takes the time and effort to prepare a Will it is essential that the document clearly provide the benefits that the creator wants to put into effect upon death. A New York Estate attorney typically works closely with his clients to fully understand the assets and estate plan that is to be incorporated into the Will document. Continue reading

New York Estate Settlement can be complicated by many different factors.  After a person dies a fiduciary such as an Executor or Administrator will be appointed to handle estate affairs.  The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has provided numerous posts discussing the procedure to appoint an estate fiduciary.  In short, where a decedent leaves a Last Will, the Will is submitted to the Surrogate’s Court for probate.  When the Will is admitted to probate an Executor is appointed who is responsible for estate settlement.

When a decedent does not have a Last Will he is deemed to have died intestate. An Administrator is appointed for intestate estates. Typically, the Administrator is one or more of the decedent’s next of kin called distributees.  The distributees, according to their relation to the decedent, have priority to be appointed as an Administrator. Continue reading

New York Estate Lawyers know that it is important for individuals to create plans that reflect their intentions. An estate plan can include a Last Will, Living Will, Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney and Living Trust.

It is important that when creating these documents, an individual give serious consideration to the provisions that are made in each instrument. For example, when preparing a Power of Attorney, a person should be careful to designate an agent that is trustworthy and that the agent be given powers that are necessary and restricted as the situation or circumstance may require. It may not always be the best course just to fill out the standard Power of Attorney form with all of the powers provided and sign it without regard to the possible consequences of such act. Continue reading

The estate of a decedent can be affected by many different pre-death and post death events. For example, the decedent may be involved in a lawsuit during life that is still ongoing at the time of death. It will then be up to the estate Executor or Administrator to take over the lawsuit to its conclusion. Depending upon the nature of the case, the lawsuit may result either in a liability to the estate or an asset if the estate recovers money.

New York Probate Attorneys are familiar with many other situations that can impact estate settlement. One such situation involves the marital status of the decedent at the time of death. Under the New York estate laws, a spouse of the decedent has certain rights. If a married person dies without a Last Will, Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (“EPTL”) Section 4-1.1 provides that the surviving spouse would inherit a share of the decedent’s estate. Also, it is not uncommon that a spouse is named as a primary beneficiary in a decedent’s Last Will and Testament. However, even where a spouse is not named in a Will, EPTL Section 5-1.1-A, entitled “Right of election by surviving spouse”, provides the survivor with the right to receive the greater of $50,000.00 or one-third (1/3) of a decedent’s net estate. Continue reading

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