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Estate settlement in New York requires that the fiduciary determine and resolve many difficult types of issues. Among the items Administrators and Executors need to finalize are claims against the estate.

Creditor’s claims can be in various forms. The more commons claims are outstanding credit card bills. Also, the decedent may have left unpaid medical bills or a mortgage. Business debts and unpaid matrimonial obligations from a divorce may also need to paid. The fiduciary has a responsibility to satisfy or discharge all claims. If a creditor is not satisfied, a fiduciary can become personally liable if he distributes estate assets before a resolution. Continue reading

Probating a Will in New York can involve many complex procedures. A person typically prepares an estate plan and executes a Last Will so that his intentions regarding the disposition of his estate can be clearly set forth. Since the validity of a Last Will is extremely important, Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) Section 3-2.1 entitled “Execution and attestation of wills; formal requirements” provides strict guidelines for executing a Will. The need for signatures, witnesses and other statutory and legal requirements are all intended to safeguard the Will execution process.

The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has posted many articles concerning probate. When a Will is filed with the Surrogate’s Court for probate, there are many other papers that need to be provided to the Court such as witness affidavits. Also, the decedent’s next of kin must be identified and given the opportunity to object to the Will. A New York City Probate Lawyer is familiar with these requirements. Continue reading

When a person dies intestate (without a Last Will), his estate is distributed according to the laws of intestacy. Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) Section 4-1.1 entitled “Descent and distribution of a decedent’s estate” , provides the statutory list of distributees entitled to receive a distributive estate share.

In order to receive a share, a potential heir must be able to demonstrate his relationship to the decedent. In many cases where the heirs at law are uncertain, the Surrogate’s Court will require a Kinship Hearing before it allows the distribution of the estate funds. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has posted many articles regarding Kinship proceedings and intestate distribution. Continue reading

A decedent’s estate is settled by either an Administrator or an Executor.  The estate fiduciary typically retains a New York City Estate Attorney to provide legal representation regarding the initial fiduciary appointment and subsequent administrative tasks.

One of the most important responsibilities of the fiduciary is to identify and collect estate assets.   The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has talked about this aspect of estate cases in many posts.   It is common that the primary asset owned by a decedent is real estate usually in the form of a residence. Such property can be a single family home, or a cooperative or condominium apartment. Continue reading

Very often the Surrogate’s Court requires that an Executor or Administrator post a bond as a condition to their appointment as a fiduciary. A Bond in the Surrogate’s Court is typically within the discretion of the Judge. Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) Section 710 entitled “Objections which require bond from fiduciary not otherwise required to file bond”, provides various directions as to the posting of a bond.

A bond is simply a form of insurance to protect the estate creditors and beneficiaries from possible estate loses. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has discussed fiduciary bonds in earlier posts. When a person prepares a Last Will, one common provision is that the need to post a bond by the Executor is waived. On the other hand, in many intestacy administration cases, the Court requires that the Administrator post a bond as a condition to his appointment. Continue reading

The execution of a Last Will in New York is controlled by Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) Section 3-2.1 entitled “Execution and attestation of wills; formal requirements”. Estate Lawyers are familiar with statutory requirements that a Will should be in writing and that there needs to be at least two attesting witnesses.

When a Will is offered for probate in the Surrogate’s Court it is necessary to notify the decedent’s distributees (next of kin). These individuals have the right to file Objections to the Will. Typically the distributees receive a Probate Citation which is like a Summons. The Citation provides a Court date on which the person receiving the Citation must appear in the Surrogate’s Court and advise the Court regarding his Objections to the Will. Continue reading

When a person becomes incapacitated, Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law provides for the appointment of a property management Guardian and a Guardian for personal needs. New York City Guardianship Lawyers are familiar with the statutes regarding Guardians and the need to provide clear and convincing evidence to have a Guardian appointed. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog contains numerous articles regarding Guardianship.

Once a Guardian is appointed, it is important to understand the powers that a Guardian has available to handle the Incapacitated Person’s (“IP”) affairs.  MHL Section 81.29 entitled “Effect of the appointment on the incapacitated person” sets forth some interesting directions. One of the statutory provisions contained in paragraph (d) of Section 81.29 is that the Court cannot revoke or invalidate a Will or a Codicil that was made by an incapacitated person.  In effect, when a Will appears to be the subject of undue influence or other issues that may emanate from the circumstances of incapacity, the ordinary path to deal with such issues would be a Will Contest in the Surrogate’s Court after the IP dies. This often leaves many of these issues unresolved for years while the IP is still alive. Continue reading

When a person dies without a Last Will he is deemed to have died intestate. In cases of intestacy there are numerous facts that must be considered in connection with the appointment of an estate administrator and the settlement of a decedent’s estate. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published many articles regarding intestate estates.

At the outset, information regarding the decedent’s next of kin or kinship must be determined. The identity of the decedent’s kinship is needed in order to select the proper person to petition the Surrogate’s Court for Letters of Administration. Kinship will also provide the identity of the persons who are entitled to inherit the estate assets. Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) Section 4-1.1 entitled “Descent and distribution of a decedent’s estate” provides the list of priority for inheritance. The decedent’s spouse and children have first priority to inherit. Continue reading

The appointment of a Guardian for the personal needs and property management of an incapacitated person is provided by Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law (MHL). There are many interesting aspects to Guardianship proceedings. MHL Section 81.02 requires that the Court needs to find clear and convincing evidence that a person is incapacitated.

There are many variations regarding the extent of incapacity of an Alleged Incapacitated Person (“AIP”). Some AIP’s require more assistance with activities of daily living than others. In other words, some AIP’s can function effectively to some extent and, therefore, do not need a Guardian to completely control their activities. Continue reading

The rights of a surviving spouse have been safeguarded in various provisions of the New York Estate Law. For example, when a person dies without a Last Will his estate is distributed according to the laws of intestacy. Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) Section 4-1.1 provides that the intestate share of a surviving spouse takes priority even where there are surviving children. A surviving spouse receives the first $50,000.00 of the estate plus one-half of the balance.

The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published many articles relating to the various rights that family members have when a person dies without a Last Will. The intestate administration of a decedent’s estate can be quite complicated especially when issues of kinship exist. Continue reading

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