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Questions Answered by Benjamin Z. Katz

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on

Q: Hi , My grandmother passed away and left me stocks in her Will. The lawyer told us the money from the stocks that were

sold need to stay in escrow for a year ? Is that common ? Just trying to find out why it will take a year to get the funds

Thanks

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 20, 2019

Does not sound right.

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on

Q: Do I legally own my cat after adopting him from a rescue organization?

Months after adopting my cat from a rescue organization, the organization continues to contact me regularly for updates on the cat. They refer to him as “their” cat. I see that I signed an adoption agreement agreeing to never let him outdoors, and to never give him to another owner unless the... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 20, 2019

He is your cat. As far as letting him outdoors, that may be because of medical or emotional conditions that he may have. You can certainly ask them why they have that provision. As far as the vetting provision, it is pretty common with rescue agencies. They don't forget about animals that they... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on

Q: Ex is the legal owner of our dog. I paid for her and I take care of her, financially and physically. Can I get custody

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 15, 2019

Although property rights generally apply to pets, more and more courts are looking past those rights to do what is best under a totality of the circumstances. So, the answer is that it is possible but will depend upon the specific facts.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on

Q: Is it protocol for all the siblings to have to turn in their notarized letter before you can receive your check?

Estate was finally settled after 7 years. We received a letter stating the sum of what each sibling will get but before we can get check all siblings have to return notarized letter? Is this protocol?

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 13, 2019

Yes. A receipt and release acknowledges that you are agreeing to receive certain proceeds from the estate and releasing the estate from further liability. If you do not believe that the proceeds are correct then you should dispute it now. Once you sign and accept the proceeds you will not be... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on

Q: Can I have a cat/ with new born kittens removed from a home legally to avoid it dying from severe neglect?

I’m terrified this mother cat will starve . There’s no cat food. I shared my cats food against the owners wishes. I provided cat litter . This cat will run out of milk. She’s imaciated . Thin as rails, I was staying at the home for a week or so and did my best to share what I had just so this... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 6, 2019

To report animal neglect you can call the Attorney General helpline at 1-866-697-3444. If you don’t get results from that office I suggest calling your local humane society to get guidance for your area.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for New York on

Q: Is a POA and Health Care Proxy enough to make decisions for someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's?

I have an Aunt that is 83 years old that lives in NY. I live in Georgia. In 2013, when she was of sound mind, she had a NY attorney prepare a POA regarding all her finances, etc. and a Health Care Proxy. She signed and I signed.

Now she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. As such she... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 4, 2019

The short answer is yes. A durable POA gives you power over her finances and the Health Care Proxy over her medical decisions. However, if her condition is not apparent to a vendor or health care provider and she is expressing resistance to your decisions, you may have problems. You may have to... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on

Q: my late husband and his father set up the irrevocable trust whereas my husband acted as a trustee.

We are still married, and we have two minor kids in a marriage. Do my kids have right for share of this trust?

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 28, 2019

The trust generally spells out what happens when the maker passes away. I assume you father in law was the maker and your husband was the trustee. If no successor trustee is named in the trust, a petition will need to be brought in Court to appoint a trustee. If your kids are not beneficiaries of... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on

Q: How long does it take to get a letter of administration from the time you submit?

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 27, 2019

If there are no issues that might delay the issuance, it is usually about a month from the time of petition to issuance of Letters of Administration.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on

Q: How to determine value of probate property that will be inherited instead of sold? The will stipulates 50/50 division.

one Child is inheriting an apt building and the other is inheriting the parcel of land. How do you determine value of the properties to be able to split value 50/50 as will stipulates?

Has an assessed value been used over an appraisal?

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 24, 2019

The fastest and easiest way is to have an appraisal done of the apt building and parcel.

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2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on

Q: I let a friend hold my dog I want her back but he refuses to give her back to me he got a microchip without my consent

I let him hold my dog while I was having family issues now he refuses to let me see her or get her, I have a notarized letter from the person I bought the dog from is it worth going to court to get her back? Or would I be wasting my time , I have a order protection against the friend due to a fight... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 20, 2019

If he is refusing to give you back the dog you can bring a civil action to get it back or to recover the out of pocket expenses you incurred. However, it is best to retain an attorney and expect it to cost a minimum of few thousand dollars in legal fees and court costs. I am handling a matter now... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for New York on

Q: Will my break lease history affect my current lease and credit?

I had break my lease twice from apartments years ago due to expensive rent and relocation. Will my break lease history affect my current lease and credit?

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 18, 2019

Your history of breaking leases is not generally tracked by credit bureaus or any other repository of information. However, if those incidents resulted in a judgment or collections activity your credit may be affected.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for New York on

Q: What are our rights as landlords holding tenants for willful destruction of property?

Had a rent to own agreement with a couple who have split. She moved out he stayed on but recently stopped paying rent. We inspected the property and found dog feces throughout, they did not ask permission to have pets, animals were neglected and we had to call ani al control to have them removed.... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 18, 2019

You are not limited to the security deposit by law. You can sue them for the costs to clean and repair of the house unless your agreement prevents it.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Intellectual Property for New York on

Q: If there are 2 owners on a house and only one is paying the taxes how do you get a receipt in that 1 persons name ?

In my mother's name a grandparent had left money for me to purchase a home or use for college once I was of age . My mother had withdrawn the money once we found our small home and my father had convinced me to put his name on the home in case of any accidents or lawsuits . 3 years later the story... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 18, 2019

You should get in touch with the County Assessor. However, I believe that whoever is listed on the Deed will be billed no matter who pays.

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2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on

Q: can Someone claim a dog after a year even though no microchip and new owners have chipped registration and vet bills?

While walking dog which daughter had found over a year and vet checked for microchip twice

A women screamed you stole my dog!

Police came and pulled leash from daughters boyfriend and beloved dog gone. Do they have right to get dog back

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 18, 2019

If someone proves that they are the owner and that the dog was taken from them without permission they will be able to claim it for some time. If you want to challenge their claim you would need to litigate. I can go over the process with you.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on

Q: My 86 Yr. old father inherited a $50,000 annuity and we need to decide what option to take the funds.

He has dementia and will be going into a nursing home shortly. One of the available options is to annuitize for 5-30 years. If we choose 30 years, will it be protected from Medicaid?

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 12, 2019

If he receives any money from the annuity it would have to be spent down. There are a few alternative options available. A supplemental needs trust would allow his use of the money while maintaining Medicaid eligibility. There are some drawbacks. Also, if burial and funeral arrangements have no... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on

Q: Do I go through small claims court to get a dog back?

I know the person personally. I give them the dog for a few hours with written notice that the dog will be returned but the person won’t give him back. What do I do?

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 11, 2019

If you are the registered owner and the person is refusing to return it, you should call the police. Since a dog is considered property under the law this is considered theft.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on

Q: Do I have a case for a stolen dog?

I purchased a dog with an ex but was not able to shelter him. He give me the dog and i have been taking care of him for over a year now. The dog is now 2. He recently asked to see the dog and now he won’t give him back. All of the dog medical records are in my name, grooming receipts, amongst... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 11, 2019

If you ex is the registered owner of the dog you cannot claim that it was stolen. If ownership was transferred to you then you have a case. If your ex is abusing or mistreating the dog that may be grounds to have it removed from his custody.

You may be able to recover for the money that...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on

Q: Can I sue my mother for lying to me about my name on the deed to home in order to get me to move in with her?

My name was added to the deed to family home in 2009, mother has lifetime tenancy. She told me repeatedly that it was my house, even crying in order to get me to move in to remove troublesome family members whom she had allowed to stay in house while she was living with her boyfriend. After moving... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 10, 2019

I don’t think you have sufficient grounds to sue your mother for lying.

When property is deeded to you that reserves a Life Estate, you receive some ownership rights. However, your mother has the right to live there. Since you are on the Deed, the property can’t be sold or transferred...
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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on

Q: what steps do I need to take to get my emotional support dog back?Cops said possession is 9/10 of the law!

I am the owner on all the paperwork and receipt of sale.I have been diagnosed with PTSD.Do I have no rights because the police officer pretty much said I didn’t!!My anxiety is through the roof!!!Help please!

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 5, 2019

The police officer is incorrect. If you are the legal owner you have the right to your dog.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on

Q: My grandmother gave away my dog without permission and the man who now has my dog refuses to give him back

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jun 25, 2019

Who was the registered owner of the dog? If it was you, then your grandmother had no legal right to give it away.

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