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New York Estate Planning Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: I’m being alienated from any knowledge of my mother’s will and trust by my family even though I am an heir.

Denied copies of any papers. And never notified about anything. What can I do in this situation?

Lawrence Allen Weinreich
Lawrence Allen Weinreich answered on Dec 8, 2019

You can always get copies of any papers filed in court. You should also speak to an attorney about a will contest based upon what you are saying.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: I am contesting my dads will and have to file an objection i do not have an attorney and am not sure how to proceed
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Dec 4, 2019

All objections must be in writing or the Surrogates Court won’t consider them. You should consult with an attorney to determine what arguments to make.

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Estate Planning for New York on
Q: When somebody dies unexpectedly and they have two powers of attorney are they responsible for disbursement of money

And a New York State is it true that somebody that has a felony cannot be the Executor of his estate

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Nov 20, 2019

A Power of Attorney is not effective once the person dies. If there was a Will, once the Surrogate's court determines it is valid, Letters Testamentary will be issued to the Executor/Executrix. If there was no Will, Letters of Administration will be issued to the Administrator/Administratrix.... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Civil Litigation for New York on
Q: Can an appointed trustee destroy the trust property given to him? If given promissory note, is he liable for face value?

A trust was created for my benefit earlier this summer. A promissory note was given in trust to the trustees to be invested and utilized for specific purposes. The note transferred to the trustees is still currently in their possession. They have not performed the trust nor accounted as required... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 15, 2019

A trustee has the duty to protect, collect and maximize the value of trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries, and intentionally destroying a trust asset would presumptively be a violation of that duty. However, it is possible that the note truly was uncollectible and it would cost the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Am I legally allowed to be the administrator or a co-admin of my grandfather's estate while his son (my uncle) is alive?

My estranged uncle is petitioning to become the administrators of, first, his mother's estate (my step-grandmother), and then, second, his father's estate (my biological grandfather), essentially double dipping. My uncle had two sisters (my mother and aunt, both deceased). My mother had two... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Nov 13, 2019

You can object. As next of kin, he has priority, but the court can refuse him.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Do I have legal grounds to be the administrator/representative or a co-admin/co-rep of my grandfather's estate and why?

My grandfather died in 1994. He had three children (two daughters with his first wife, my grandmother, and one son with his second wife, my step-grandmother). Both wives have died. Both daughters have died. My mother had two children (both alive). My aunt had three children (two alive). My... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 13, 2019

It does appear that you might be an intestate heir because your mother (grandfather's daughter) has died. Therefore, you have an interest in the estate. Therefore, you have standing to petition to be appointed personal representative of your grandfather's estate. Do not delay. If your uncle has... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Can I refuse to be a co-executor of my brother’s will before he dies or do I have to wait for the ultimate event?

My older brother has named our younger sister and me as co-executors; my sister and I do not speak and do not get along. I want to avoid the aggravation involved in this. I have asked him repeatedly to name either her or me (I don’t care which one), but I know he will never do this. Is there... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Nov 10, 2019

If you told him that you don’t want to serve with your sister, that is all you can do at this point. If he dies before you and your sister, you can decline to serve. If your sister passes before him you can choose to serve.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Hello,I live in New York and need a power of attorney document drawn up for someone to manage some benefits in Trinidad

Is this something that can be done?

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Nov 4, 2019

Each jurisdiction has their own forms. While Trinidad may enforce a New York form, you would be better if the work is in Trinidad to use a Trinidad form.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for New York on
Q: Does beneficiary pay tax on distributed rental income which the estate previously claimed as income on its tax returns?

Estate earned rental income in 2018, which was claimed as rental income on its 2018 tax returns. Such monies in 2018 were not distributed at that time to beneficiary. In 2019, same money was now distributed to beneficiary. Does beneficiary now need to claim such monies as distributable taxable... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 29, 2019

That is a very good question, but no, the income does not get taxed twice. It only gets taxed once at the estate level.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: I was asked to sign a document stating that my niece is the only daughter of my brother and that there are no other

persons who can claim they get a portion of her father's estate. Years ago, my brother said he wanted to leave me some money but I don't know if he did it. My sister hasn't been asked to sign anything. My niece hasn't mentioned anything about my being in the will. Is this type of document... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Oct 28, 2019

All next of kin must be notified, whether in the will or not. This is normal to preclude you from claiming there is some other next of kin. But, you should be getting a copy of the will before you sign anything.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: I am a missionary in the Philippines. My father died in 2011 and my brother took care of everything. I was not told if

Your first box only has one line-...there was a will or not. Then my brother died in 2016. I just found out through New York State that my father is owed money from a bank acct. The man could not tell me how much but did say it was more that $1,000.

It seems I need uthorization from the... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Oct 25, 2019

Do you know if your brother brought an estate proceeding for your father? If not, you would need to petition the court for the power to discover and secure assets including the bank account. If you do it yourself it would only cost a few hundred dollars. If you hire an attorney it could cost about... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Did my grandmother commit a breach of fiduciary responsibility?

My grandparents had mirrored wills and trusts. My grandfather passed several years ago, and my grandmother was the trustee and executor of my grandfather's estate. They had both signed a Joint Waiver of Agreement, a legally binding document whereby they relinquished the right to contest the... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Oct 24, 2019

She may have breached her duty. However, that determination would have to be made after reviewing the trust agreement.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Who are the distributees in NY: Mary died, never had kids. No surviving siblings, parents nor spouse. 1 nephew is alive.

1 niece died many years prior to Mary. That niece has 4 living children. There were never any other nieces and nephews. Just the 2 mentioned here.

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Oct 21, 2019

The distributees are the nephew and four kids of niece.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: I am gifting my house to my son but can I use a warranty deed instead of a gift deed in New York State
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Oct 10, 2019

Yes. A warranty deed means you, the transferor, are guaranteeing that you hold title to property. A quitclaim deed does not make that guarantee. Many gifts are made by quitclaim deed because they don’t have that warranty. Both are proper.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Are a will and a health Proxy made in the state of MA (3 years ago) are valid in the state of NY?
Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Oct 4, 2019

Yes. But as the forms are different, I would change the health care proxy so NY hospitals do not give problems. Also, as state law differs, if the estate is large enough, change may be warranted for NY law if that is where maker of will resides now.

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3 Answers | Asked in Banking, Criminal Law and Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Can a joint account holder deposit a check into their account if the check is made out to someone who passed away?

Mother received a large check from retirement account and she passed away before cashing it. Her boyfriend deposited the check into their joint account several days after her passing and then closed the account once the check cleared. He now has the money and is refusing to give it to the children.... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Sep 28, 2019

If he endorsed a check made payable to your deceased mother he committed fraud. You can call the police and/or DA to report it.

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Entertainment / Sports for New York on
Q: How would you know if there's a will left and not just thrown away?
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Sep 25, 2019

If you believe there was a Will you would check where the decedent kept important papers, get in touch with their attorney or check with the local Surrogate’s Court to see if it was filed. If there is a safe deposit box many times people make the mistake of putting their Will there.... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for New York on
Q: Is an administrator’s deed needed?

A family member passed away without a will leaving his wife and adult children. His name was on the deed for their home. His wife applied for and received letters of administration. Does she need to use an administrator’s deed to transfer the property to herself? If she does, would she only... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Sep 15, 2019

Yes. An Administrator’s Deed is the correct instrument for the transfer. Transfer taxes may not be required If there is no consideration for the transfer. However, if the property has a mortgage, relief of the mortgage obligation is consideration.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: The father of my son and ex-husband, bought a house i Garland, Texas, and he was paying a mortgage. He was living with h

His mom, new wife, His sister and nephew. His mom passed away in March, and he passed away a month ago, leaving no will. My son was His only child. Does my son has More rights over that property than His father's widow? Also my son's father was registered as the only owner of tittle of the... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Sep 8, 2019

Texas law governs this issue.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Elder Law for New York on
Q: My elderly father owns a property with my brother as joint tenants but he would like to leave my sister and I his share.

Could he sever the joint tenancy without my brother’s permission and change it to tenants in common? Also would he need a living trust to avoid probate and to designate my sister and I as his beneficiaries? Would that avoid due on sale clause since its a living trust? He and my brother are on... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 5, 2019

I do not speak Cantonese but the answers to your other questions are yes, these things can be done. However, they are not do it yourself projects. You are well advised to hire an attorney to assist you with this

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