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Questions Answered by Benjamin Z. Katz
1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on
Q: Can a Probate Attorney pass on a verbal message from the judge to a beneficiary of a will? Should it not be in writing?

Should the beneficiary follow the instruction of this probate attorney if what he says is not in writing?

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 4, 2020

Your question is not clear. If you are a beneficiary and you don’t trust the attorney handling the probate you can retain an attorney to advise you. I’m not sure what you are asking about the judge.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on
Q: My sister bullied my mom who had Dementia to change her will 3 weeks after the final one was made.

Can I contest that will as I have several other wills spanning 27 years that do not have my sister or her children in it.

Can I ask the court to appoint an Independent Executor as my sister abused her POA role before my mother died?

The Substitute Executors are not interested in the... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 4, 2020

You can object to your sister’s appointment and to the validity of the Will. However, I would encourage you to retain an attorney to advise and assist you.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for New York on
Q: How does NY State intestate laws if only asset is a home and spouse and children are living?

Dad has been dead many years. 3 kids, mom still living. Only asset is one house in NYC. How much does mom get if we sell home after intestate is completed by the court?

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 2, 2020

The laws of the state where Dad was last a resident will apply. If he was a resident of New York and died without a Will, assets are split 50% to surviving spouse and the other 50% to surviving children.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on
Q: My roommates ex moved out 12/2019 and left her dog. Yesterday she came and took her while I was preoccupied with my kids

She didn't ask if the dog could stay nothing. Just came home to her dog and everything else she owned gone. She's been over since and never says a word about the dog. I pay for food medicine everything for 9 months. She came over and while I was busy with the kids she took the dog. Now I... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 1, 2020

You would have to sue her for ownership rights to be recognized. You can claim she abandoned the dog. However, unless she said or did anything that clearly expressed her wish to abandon, it will be an uphill battle. If you want to recover what you spent, you can sue her to be reimbursed for the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Health Care Law for New York on
Q: Can a couple put a house in a irrevocable trust and then, within months, collect Medicaid in New York State?

The husband had a stroke and is on disability. He wants to put his house, co-owned with wife , in an irrevocable trust for his children. He is then going to receive Medicaid to pay for his maintenance in an assisted living institution. Is the house protected from the liens or other governmental... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 25, 2020

Yes. However, the law is scheduled to change shortly. Right now there is no look back period for Medicaid involving assisted living. After October 1, 2020 there will be a look back period. The transfer needs to be done quickly and properly.

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1 Answer | Asked in Agricultural Law, Contracts, Animal / Dog Law and Lemon Law for New York on
Q: Are “Hobby Breeders” held to the same standards under NYS Pet Lemon Law? Or only Pet dealers?
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 21, 2020

If the hobby breeder sells 10 or more dogs or cats a year they are subject to the pet lemon law.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: I'm inquiring about estates. My commonlaw husband passed away recently and we have a daughter. He left no will.

We were asked to prove paternity. Our daughter is 27 yrs old we lived together 29 yrs hes on certificate.

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 21, 2020

If he is listed as her father on the birth certificate there should be no need for a paternity test. Who is asking?

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: How do I get items in safe deposit box appraised after my father's death?

I am trying to find out how I get items in a safe deposit box appraised if I cannot remove the items?

Facts:

1) The owners of the box are me and my father, my father is deceased. The bank knows this.

2) The bank is in NY.

3) The items within the box are likely small... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 17, 2020

If you are listed as a joint owner I don't understand why you are not being given access. However, I suggest that you file for a small estate for voluntary administration based upon the assets you are aware of. Once you are empowered by the Court, you can certainly get access to the safe... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: A man who is a resident of Alabama died . He wrote over his will and crossed out paragraphs manually.

would the will be still valid? he was single he has one half sister a nephew and a niece. who gets what of his estate?

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 16, 2020

You should ask an Alabama attorney. However, i suspect any changes made by hand will not be considered valid and may invalidate the whole document.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for New York on
Q: My deceased aunt left a Will. If I submit a Petition to Surrogate Court will I be able to access her banking info?

I live in Georgia and she lived in New York. I am the Executor of the will if appointed voluntary administrator is that all I need to carry out duties as Executor and will I be able to access banking info and have access to her apartment.

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 16, 2020

If your the Executor named in the Will, you must petition the Surrogates Court for Letters Testamentary. Once the court issues you Letters Testamentary you can access bank accounts and her apartment. Be aware that if she owns a co-op, your ability to sell or transfer her interest in it may be... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Probate for New York on
Q: My Mom recently passed and she owns a co-op in brooklyn that she is leaving to her 4 children.She has a will.

The co-op board says we have to purchase her co-op then be approved first before we can sell it. and there are fees involved of course and we need to hire a lawyer. Is this legal?

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 15, 2020

There may be a way to avoid having to transfer the co-op into all four names before selling it. Assuming none of you wish to keep the co-op it would be necessary to review the Will and the co-op Offering Plan.

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for New York on
Q: Mother's will was in NC but she moved to NY 6 mos. ago. Assets are in mutual funds and bank account. Do I need a lawyer?

I am named as executor. I am not on her bank account as joint owner but through power of attorney had access to her accounts.

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 15, 2020

The POA is ineffective after death. You need to probate the Will to gain access to her accounts. You can do it yourself but it is generally wiser to have an attorney help you so there is less chance of mistakes.

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2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on
Q: A friend that live in NY got served with a city complaint about her dog. Does she needs a lawyer to go to the hearing?

A lady who filed it accused my friend of having her dog threatened her while walking pass my friend’s property with no fence. The dog is friendly and well behave. She also does not remember interacting with the accuser or anyone. So we are not sure here if we need a lawyer

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 14, 2020

If this is a hearing to determine if your friend’s dog be deemed a “dangerous dog” there may be serious consequences. Depending upon the facts, a judge may impose restrictions on the dog, may require training, muzzling or other limits on its movements. In cases where there is a history of... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on
Q: Can a motion for summary judgment or to dismiss be made during trial w.new evidence or need it be a motion under 4401?

The trial began months ago w.the other side rested but due to Covid-19, put on hold. During the pandemic, I lost my job and attorney who got Covid-19. Pre-trial, he filed a MTD 3211 on estoppel based on a sister-state's trial they lost on same matter, but other side lied saying it was not on... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 13, 2020

I would not do this by yourself. You should hire an attorney. CPLR 4401 usually relates to the evidence presented at trial. CPLR 3212 is a motion for summary judgment, asking the court for judgment based upon the law. If you previously moved for the relief requested a motion to renew or reargue may... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on
Q: I was helping my brother post a dog that he found on the side of the road on a lost and found site.

It was a puppy that had fleas and worms in bald spots. It seemed neglected. Waited a few days and got no contact. It has been vaccinated and was rehomed. Before post I can put the post down I got a call. They admitted they let the puppy roam with cat’s outside, I guess this is why he was on the... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 11, 2020

If you never had possession of the dog and only helped your brother post that he found a lost dog I don’t see a case against you. However, I can’t promise that they won’t try.

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on
Q: Dog ownership question - Are texting from the other party stating "Your dog" enough to prove the dog was given to me?

Mother states my 11 year old dog is hers and I will not be able to take the dog when I move out. The dog is the daugther of my grandmother's dog (purchaser is my mother).. She was given to my uncle at birth by my mother (I do not know if the dog was registered) and raised in his house for 8... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 9, 2020

Custody and ownership disputes generally come down to the facts. If you are able to demonstrate that your uncle transferred ownership to you, a court will most likely find in your favor. However, this would require you to sue your mother. I would recommend that you register your ownership of the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on
Q: Can my building complex tell me what animal I cannot have as an emotional support animal?

I submitted my ESA letter to my. building complex. My building has a no dog policy. The animal I would like to have as an emotional support animal is a dog. The building rejected my request because in my ESA letter my psychologist stated that any animal I choose would provide me emotional support.... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 5, 2020

I deal with these situations quite frequently. It would be a good idea to have your psychologist specify or clarify why a dog rather than another animal is preferred for therapeutic reasons. However, even if not, Management is precluded from imposing the no dogs policy on you. Many times this can... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on
Q: Getting a dog back

So my mother sold our family dog who is a yorki mixed poddle. We gave her to a couple who has 2 other dogs and wanted our dog Chloe. Of course we gave them Chloe. We checked up on them to see if chloe has adjusted to the new environment. They told my mother that she kept throwing up. So I told my... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 1, 2020

If you transferred ownership without any conditions you do not have the legal right to demand her to be returned.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on
Q: put two deposits down on pups but the lady sold them after i gave her the deposite? she lives in NY i live in VT ?

so i put to puppies on hold with a deposit of 150 on each puppy so i only needed to pay them 300for the remaining of what they wanted . i picked one out on the 13th and one out on the 14th. 2wks latter i get a phone text that her sisters dog attacked one of my puppiues and needed to be put to... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jun 29, 2020

The police in either state will consider this a consumer/civil matter not criminal. If you paid by credit card, call credit card company to dispute charge. You can make a complaint with Better Business Bureau, Attorney General’s office and Department of Consumer Affairs. If all else fails you can... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York on
Q: If I put a non-refundable deposit on a puppy and have a receipt and do not receive the puppy, what can i do?

I put a non-refundable deposit on a puppy for $200, the breeder gave me a receipt, the time to pickup the dog has come and the breeder won’t respond to my texts or calls, what can I do?

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jun 26, 2020

If you have made several attempts to contact the breeder without a response you can certainly call the Better Business Bureau or the Department of Consumer Affairs. If the $200 was on a credit card, you can dispute the charge with credit card company.

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