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New York Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: What possessions in a life estate belong to the homeowner?

We received our house through a life estate in 2020 from my mother in law's death. The deed is now in my wife's and my name. In her Will, which was not probated, she left the house furnishings to my daughters. Not very bright, but typical of her. One of my daughters lives with us and... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jan 19, 2022

If you are the owners of the house, all fixtures are part of the house. Furnishings are items such as tables, sofas, beds, chairs, etc. If your daughter wishes to enforce that provision, the Will would first need to go through the probate process.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Child Custody for New York on
Q: We are interested in appointing a legal guardian for our 16yo son in case of an accident during an upcoming vacation.

We will be traveling abroad and our son will stay with my sister. If we get in a plane crash we want to make sure he is taken care of according to our wishes. We wish to appoint my sister as legal guardian. Should we establish a will to express our wishes in regard to our property and our... Read more »

Peter Christopher Lomtevas
Peter Christopher Lomtevas answered on Jan 19, 2022

We here cannot offer legal advice as there is no attorney-client relationship formed between the asker and the responding lawyer. We are an education site.

One bit of education is that the law works best when an event giving rise to a case already happened. This means the process is far...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: I inherited a corporation that has invested large amounts of money in a property which is now for sale by the estate.

as 100% owner of the corporation now can i file an unjust enrichment claim to recoup some of the investment on behalf of the corporation? I tried to purchase this property however i am the executor and my family will not approve of the sale even though I offered over fair market value for it. I... Read more »

Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay answered on Jan 18, 2022

You have presented a complicated situation that is not suited to being addressed in this forum. Your questions and concerns would be better addressed by retaining competent legal representation.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: My Dad passed away 30+ years ago, my brother is the executor of the estate and never fullfilled his obligation

Of dispensing the funds. The funds are in unclaimed funds and the monies are dwindling away. After numerous conversations and promises, he refuses to disperse the funds. I have filed a claim myself and provided them with the necessary proof, but they have advised me that as long as the executor is... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jan 17, 2022

In NY, If all you need is a death certificate, you should be able to get one from the Dept of Health. If you wish to be appointed as the new Administrator of the estate, you will have to petition the court, describing the situation.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: My brother passed away in Puerto Rico. The property is in P.R. there's no will. He has no children, no wife.

Our father lives here in New York.

I have power of attorney of my dad's real estate and financial situation. My mom is still married with my dad. Can we transfer deed to my dad? Can I do this with power of attorney. Who would have rights to my brothers house after his passing? What can I do?

Russel Morgan
Russel Morgan answered on Jan 12, 2022

You can report the property onto court in claiming ownership but with evidence on why. With our estate planning services we can provide you the help you need.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for New York on
Q: Hello from New York. My dad recently died, my mom died a year earlier, the house is still in my dad's and mom's name.

I live in the house. Dad and Mom wanted only me to have house, not my brother, because I took care of them for over 10 years. There are no papers signed though for me to have it. My brother said you have to have his name on it also because they left no papers for me to have it.

Is this... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jan 10, 2022

Your brother is right. Children split equally if there is no will.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: My brother passed away in Puerto Rico. He left no will. He's not married and no children. Our father is still alive.

I have power of attorney of my dad's real estate and financial situation. My mom is still married with my dad. Can we transfer deed to my dad? Can I do this with power of attorney. Who would have rights to my brothers house after his passing?

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jan 5, 2022

If the property is in Puerto Rico, you need a lawyer there. If it is in New York, you need to become estate fiduciary in PR, and then do an ancillary proceeding here.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for New York on
Q: Is a contract legal binding if both party's sighned it has been notarized?
Toshinori Isoai
Toshinori Isoai answered on Dec 27, 2021

It depends on what the contract was for, consideration involved, nature of the agreement, roles of the parties, etc.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: Grandmother was coerced into signing a deed transfer and wants to correct it. What should she do?
Toshinori Isoai
Toshinori Isoai answered on Dec 12, 2021

More facts need to be presented surrounding the "deed transfer."

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Criminal Law and Identity Theft for New York on
Q: I have an irrevocable trust for my grandchildren. Their father stole 300,000$ from my savings and 73,000 from Met Life.

He left me w35$. Can I change the irrevocable trust and sell my home? Since I can prove fraud, identity theft, elder abuse. I owe109,000 on my mortgage can I get a home equity loan on a 6 family ? I need money for legal fees and dental work.

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Oct 26, 2021

The terms of the trust will govern a lot of it. If the trust has provisions for your lifetime care, you can ultimately petition the court.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: I am on medicaid in NY. My son and I are on deed. Is it to late to take my name off deed to avoid an estate recovery
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 28, 2021

At this time, a transfer of any property to almost anybody else without receiving fair value in exchange would be considered an uncompensated transfer, i.e. a "gift", and would cause you to incur a penalty period for a number of days equal to the value of the gift divided by the then... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Contracts and Business Law for New York on
Q: My contractor for remodeling my home never give us a CO can we file a report it been 8 years.

My parents brought a house and got a contractor to remodel it from a single-faimly home to a multi-faimly. They got the remodeling done but never give us a CO certificate we been trying in touch for about 9 years and he been avoiding the situation and never really explaining what is going on. What... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Sep 24, 2021

You need to have an architect file for this change. A contractor cannot do it. In fact, doing this work without the proper filings may mean that there are open violations and permits that are bigger issues.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Elder Law for New York on
Q: My mother (90) owns her home in Huntington. She would like to add her 2 daughters to the title. What is the process?

Can we do this by completing a form or do we need to get a lawyer? Can we file electronically? I live in Maryland, but her house is in New York. Thank you.

Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay answered on Sep 22, 2021

In order to add additional parties to title, a new deed must be executed. Unfortunately, technology advances, such as esignatures have moved forward faster than our legal system has adapted. Therefore, it is necessary to executed wet ink copies of the deed and accompanying transfer documents that... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: How do I know if a lawyer is mishandling an estate case? Person passed away in 2015, still not settled.

My great Aunt passed away July 2015. The first issue was that her lawyer lived in CT, while she lived in NYC (Stuyvesant Town). So per NY law, the CT lawyer arranged for a NY lawyer to handle the estate. However, before they could go over all the details, the CT lawyer passed away suddenly in Dec... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Sep 21, 2021

Yes. This is a long time. You should bring a proceeding for an accounting and to compel distribution.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for New York on
Q: meaning? “I nominate and appoint my children, John A, Jay A, and Cee A, alternate Co- Executor’s of my Will

so all 3 are equal Executor’s since my dad who was appointed Executor has passed?

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Sep 8, 2021

It means that if the primary Executor is unable or unwilling to serve, the children named will serve together in that capacity.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: My dad passed on August 20 2021 and my mom passed on June 27 2021, i live in my dads house and have since 1995 this has

been my permanent residence and i have two children who reside here and are registered to school here and have been since birth. the house was bought between my mom and dad, i have step siblings who have a diff mom, is there anyway they can take over this house through probate? my dad didn’t have... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Sep 5, 2021

When there is no Will, it is called Administration. But it works similarly to Probate. If an estate has not been established yet, one will probably be needed. If the house was in both their names and was bought when they were married, the survivor of the two would be 100% owner; your dad it... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: If three out of four heirs agree to a cash offer for apprised value of house does the fourth have to as well?

The fourth heir wants to put house on market to see if a bidding war would happen to maybe get a few thousand more as where the other three are willing to take the garunteed cash offer at apprised value. Can the executor accept the cash offer or do all have to be in agreement

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Sep 1, 2021

Depends on the discretion of the Executor in the will based on the terms of the will.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: If I have the deed to my grandmothers house in Puerto Rico is it mine?

I’m being told that my cousins have rights to this house. My mother was the youngest of seven children and has died but now I’m being told that the house has to be divided among my cousins.

Gary Lane
Gary Lane answered on Aug 28, 2021

What exactly do you mean by "I have the deed"? Is the deed in your name? Did a transfer deed into your name ever get recorded or even written? Merely having possession of the piece of paper (the deed) does not give you possession of the property, even if it was given to you with that... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for New York on
Q: How does 'Inherited IRA' work if IRA beneficiary is a rev trust? And rev trust doc lists 2 children as beneficiaries?

IRA value $700K. Can Inherited IRA live in trust with distributions to children's accounts? What/who is taxed?

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 25, 2021

Yes. A trust can be a beneficiary of an IRA. It is most common for the trust to pay the tax before distributing to the beneficiaries. The trust document should guide the trustee. Depending on whether or not the trust is a see-through trust inherited IRAs must be used up within either 5 or 10 years.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: My aunt hired a friend as a lawyer to take over my grandma s estate where she got 50%and me my siblings the other 50%

She told me her lawyer told her how to not abide by the will so far she sold my grandma's household and most personal things giving her child a cut she has also giving them and her self the jewelery and money the house she refused to list for sale it's been 10years now ..don't know what to do

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Aug 20, 2021

You can petition to the Surrogate's Court for an accounting and to compel distribution.

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