New York Estate Litigation Often Concerns Real Property

The settlement of a New York estate involves dealing with many different estate assets.  These assets may include bank accounts, stocks and bonds and retirement funds.  In many instances the most valuable item comprising a decedent’s estate is real property.  Such property may be in the nature of the decedent’s residence or investment or commercial real estate.

It is not uncommon that when a person dies their home had been owned by them for many years or even decades. Very often the decedent lived in their home with other family members such as a spouse or children or other relatives like nieces and nephews. Problems tend to arise where the decedent was not survived by a spouse and other family members had been living with the decedent in the home. Typically, the real property residence is either given in a Last Will to persons other than, or in addition to, those who had been living there with the testator. When there is no Last Will and a person dies intestate, the interest in the real estate may pass to a group of individuals who are the decedent’s next of kin or distributees.  Such persons may or may not include the residents of the property.I have been involved in numerous Surrogate’s Court cases where a family member would not vacate the decedent’s property to allow it to be sold so that the proceeds of sale could be distributed to all of the individual’s entitled to receive a share. Where a family member who is a distributee of an intestate estate refuses to vacate a property, the Surrogate’s Court typically allows a proceeding to be held in such Court to obtain the eviction of the resident.

In other cases concerning third party occupants or non-distributee relatives, proceedings may be brought in the local Housing Court to obtain an eviction. In a recent case entitled Matter of Palumbo, decided on September 12, 2014 by Nassau County Surrogate Edward McCarty III, the Court refused to interfere with Housing Court proceedings that were brought by a Trustee against a non-beneficiary child of a decedent.

Estate Attorneys know that eviction proceedings whether filed in the Surrogate’s Court or Housing Court can take many months to complete. The problems associated with evicting tenants can delay the sale of estate property and distribution to beneficiaries for many years. I have represented many persons in Surrogate’s Court and Housing Court Eviction proceedings concerning estate property. The Court cases can be complex and experienced legal counsel can assist with expediting these matters.

New York City probate lawyer, Jules Martin Haas has helped many clients over the past 30 years throughout Manhattan and Queens Counties resolve issues relating to estate litigation and settlement in New York 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.

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