The settlement of a New York estate requires the identification of the decedent’s distributees (i.e, next of kin). In both probate proceedings and intestate administration proceedings the Court filings require that the names and addresses of all distributees be provided. This mandate allows the Court to identify all persons who are interested in the estate and to make certain that all of these persons have received proper notice of the Court proceedings. For example, in probate proceedings, the distributees may want to contest the Will by filing Objections. Continue reading
The administration of a New York Estate involves many different tasks. The main function of an estate fiduciary such as an executor or administrator is to collect the decedent’s assets and to pay or satisfy various debts and administration expenses. There may be many complicated steps that need to be taken to fully complete or even begin the estate settlement process. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has discussed many of these issues. Continue reading
The administration of a New York Estate requires the resolution of many different types of issues. During his lifetime a decedent may have been involved in activities that resulted in claims or debts that are unresolved at the time of death. For example, a person may have incurred credit card obligations or other credit related debt that is unpaid. In other situations, the decedent may have been an owner of a business or have had business transactions for which he was monetarily responsible.
Also after a person dies the Executor or Administrator has a fiduciary obligation to determine the decedent’s financial obligations and satisfy creditors. Of course, the fiduciary also has a duty to determine to what extent these debt obligations are valid and enforceable. Continue reading
In New York City it is very common that a person may own a cooperative apartment. Essentially, the ownership of a co-op apartment has two aspects. A person is a stockholder of and owns shares in the cooperative corporation. The vested interest in the corporation provides a person with the right to be the lessee in a proprietary lease for his apartment.
As most cooperative apartment dwellers know, the co-op owner is subject to many corporate rules and regulations that are contained in various forms such as the proprietary lease, the corporation’s by-laws and the house rules. Perhaps the most well known rule or restriction regarding these apartments is that the ownership rights cannot be sold or transferred without the express approval of the corporation. The general law in New York provides that cooperative corporations have broad and usually unreviewable discretion to approve or disapprove of a prospective purchaser or transferee. While the corporation cannot engage in discriminatory conduct, it can disapprove a transaction for any reason and generally does not need to disclose the reason for such rejection. Continue reading
Estate Settlement involves dealing with many different types of assets. New York City estate lawyers routinely find that a decedent was the owner of a cooperative apartment. The ownership nature of these apartments is comprised of shares of stock that the decedent owned in a cooperative corporation. As a shareholder of the corporation the decedent would also have been the lessee in a proprietary lease that provided for the decedent to reside in his apartment. A cooperative proprietary lease sets forth the rights and obligations that exist between the shareholder-lessee and the cooperative corporation-lessor. While the decedent was an owner of the shares of stock allocated to his apartment, the lease is really in the nature of creating a landlord-tenant type of relationship. Continue reading
A New York Executor and Administrator each have many fiduciary obligations. Earlier posts in this blog have discussed the need for estate representation to identify and collect the assets of an estate.
Estate Lawyers in New York are often asked by clients to provide guidance regarding real estate interests that are owned by a decedent. Many times the value of the real property that is involved constitutes the largest asset of an estate. Such property can take many different forms. The decedent may have owned a single family home or may be the owner of a multiple unit property which contains residential tenants that were paying rent. There are also situations where commercial property was owned as part of a decedent’s business and is included among his assets. Continue reading
Estate Administration in New York involves the collection and distribution of the decedent’s assets. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has discussed the many different types of assets that may be a part of a decedent’s estate. These assets include bank accounts, stocks and bonds, tangible personal property, and real estate. The estate fiduciary, whether it be an Executor or Administrator, has a fiduciary duty to find all of the decedent’s assets so that they can be protected and ultimately liquidated and/or paid out to the estate beneficiaries. Another type of asset that sometimes can be troublesome is a cooperative apartment. Continue reading
Executors and Administrators appointed by the Surrogate’s Court have many duties and responsibilities. New York Estate Lawyers who represent fiduciaries typically assist their clients in connection with determining and paying estate liabilities. These liabilities can be in the form of debts and claims owed by the decedent such as unpaid credit card bills, mortgages or other monetary obligations. Additionally, the decedent may have owed past due income taxes or taxes that are to become due relating to the decedent’s final income tax return.
Regardless of the nature of the debt or obligation, the estate fiduciary must find and pay the monies that are due or risk becoming personally liable if all estate assets are paid out before all creditors are satisfied. Continue reading
One of the first and sometimes most difficult tasks faced by an Executor or Administrator of an estate is to identify, protect and collect the assets of a decedent’s estate. There is a fiduciary obligation to perform these activities so that the estate beneficiaries’ interests are safeguarded. The fiduciary has very broad powers to find and collect assets. Usually, a Last Will enumerates the authority to collect assets. However, whether there is an Executor or Administrator, the Estate laws give these powers as well. For example, Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) Section 11-1.1, entitled “Fiduciaries’ powers” states at paragraph (b)(5)(A) that a fiduciary has the authority with respect to property “To take possession of, collect the rents from and manage the same.”
While the authority granted may be broad, it is not always easy to identify and collect a decedent’s assets. Very often a person fails to maintain organized and complete records regarding bank accounts, stock ownership and business affairs. Moreover, the decedent may have been secretive during life and did not share all of his financial information with family members or professional advisors such an attorney or an accountant. In these cases, the fiduciary has to act like a detective and investigate all possible information regarding potential estate assets. Continue reading
When a person dies intestate (without a Last Will), his estate is distributed according to the laws of intestacy. New York estate lawyers know that Estates, Powers and Trusts Law Section 4-1.1 provides the list of relatives who have priority to receive a share of the decedent’s estate. Many articles appear in the New York Probate Lawyer Blog discussing intestate inheritance issues.
At the top of the list of those entitled to inherit pursuant to EPTL 4-1.1 is a decedent’s spouse and children. However, there are circumstances where a spouse’s right might be extinguished through disqualification. Some of these situations have been discussed in earlier posts. EPTL 5-1.2 is entitled “Disqualification as surviving spouse”. Under this section a spouse may be disqualified to received a share in a number of circumstances such as intestacy and asserting a right to elect against a Will. Continue reading