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New York Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: What is a citation in a will? Its going to distributees. Will the distributee receive money? or is it just notifying?
T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Feb 15, 2024

In New York estate planning and probate, a citation in the context of a will is a legal notice issued by the court. This notice is sent to distributees (potential heirs and other interested parties) to inform them of the probate proceedings and to give them an opportunity to appear in court if they... View More

4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Health Care Law and Elder Law for New York on
Q: I’m looking for a legal method that would give me the proper authority to manage my parent's care? Is a healthcare proxy

Is a healthcare proxy sufficient or do I need more?

Benjamin Z. Katz
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answered on Feb 4, 2024

A Health Care Proxy would allow you to make health care decisions if your parents were unable to do so themselves. However, managing their care, paying expenses, and completing paperwork would require a Power of Attorney to be signed by your parents naming you as their agent. In both cases, your... View More

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4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Health Care Law and Elder Law for New York on
Q: I’m looking for a legal method that would give me the proper authority to manage my parent's care? Is a healthcare proxy

Is a healthcare proxy sufficient or do I need more?

Jonathan R. Ratchik
Jonathan R. Ratchik
answered on Feb 6, 2024

As my colleague correctly advised, a health care proxy will allow you to make medical decisions on behalf of your parents. If you wish to make other decisions on their behalf, they would need to sign a Power of Attorney form designating you as their agent (assuming they have capacity to understand... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: my mother passed away recently with a vehicle getting repaired at a dealership can i go pick up the car without paying?
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jan 13, 2024

I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you are coping with that psychologically.

As for picking up your late mother's vehicle from the dealership, here are a few key things to consider:

- The repair bill is likely still due and must be paid. The dealership provided a service and...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Elder Law for New York on
Q: Is there a time limit that a will should be settled by an appointed executor?
Marco Caviglia
Marco Caviglia
answered on Jan 10, 2024

An executor is a fiduciary, which means that s/he has personal responsibility and liability for all assets and liabilities of the estate. However, the executor has no powers until obtaining letters testamentary or preliminary letters testamentary from the Surrogate's Court as a result of... View More

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: What would be the best way to pass a house to adult child, via will or gifting before death .please explain ramification
Marco Caviglia
Marco Caviglia
answered on Jan 10, 2024

Parents can deed property to their child(ren) yet retain a life estate for the two of them. Upon death of the survivor, the children take the house. That is a pretty clean way of doing it. As part of the deed or in an executed agreement, it should be state who will be responsible for upkeep and... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: What would be the best way to pass a house to adult child, via will or gifting before death .please explain ramification
T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Jan 10, 2024

Deciding whether to pass a house to an adult child through a will or by gifting before death involves considering various factors, and each option comes with its own ramifications.

If you choose to pass the house through a will, it means that ownership will transfer to your adult child upon...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Is it too late?

My father in law passed without a will 9 years ago in NY. His wife wouldn’t speak to anyone and my husband received nothing despite having property, cash and other assets. Is he entitled to anything and is there anything he can do?

Benjamin Z. Katz
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answered on Dec 27, 2023

If your father-in-law died intestate (without a Will) with property that was not jointly held or with no named beneficiaries, it would pass under New York State law. Since there was a spouse and at least one child, those assets would be split between them. Real estate would be a matter of public... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Can you provide me with information on properly completing Proof of Heirship for a friend, a sole heir of her aunt?

I am completing the Proof of Heirship for a fellow church member and friend. Her deceased aunt is listed as beneficiary on an insurance policy where the policy holder recently died. In my discussions with the niece, along with genealogical research on the family, there are three siblings, all... View More

Bonnie Lawston
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Bonnie Lawston
answered on Dec 12, 2023

If you are not a licensed genealogist, and did not know that the student personally, I do not believe you qualify to sign the affidavit. The attesting person must know the decedent, and have personal knowledge of most of the information if not all. However, genealogist can prepare such a report and... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Hi, Can I sell my portion of a house in PR?

My mom has a house in PR that she is renting out. She is still alive and has said when she passes she wants me and my sister to have it.

Me and my sister don't agree on what to do with the house. I want to sell it, as I don't want to be a landlord to a house in PR while living in... View More

Carl Nelson
Carl Nelson
answered on Nov 30, 2023

It does not appear you have any interest to sell. Your mother indicating she wants to do something in the future, even if committed to a binding will, does not give you any legal or equitable right to the property.

There are certain things you could do during her lifetime, such as...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: My father died a year ago. Now my stepmother of 6 years passed and we are being told her children get the money that was

Going to be hers. How can that be? They are not in my dad’s will. This is in NY state

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 30, 2023

In New York State, the distribution of assets after someone's death is governed by their will and the state's inheritance laws. If your father passed away and left assets to your stepmother, those assets would become part of her estate upon her death.

If your stepmother did not...
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2 Answers | Asked in Family Law, Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: My step mother of 5 years passed away and we are being told my that part of fathers estate will go to her children.

Will is not done yet and they are not in the will. New York state

Bonnie Lawston
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Bonnie Lawston
answered on Dec 12, 2023

If all of your father‘s assets passed to his spouse, then either Her will controls, or if she passed without a will, then intestate laws would apply. However, if there is no well, then, the law looks to the intestacy laws to distribute her estate pursuing to Next of kin.

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2 Answers | Asked in Family Law, Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: My step mother of 5 years passed away and we are being told my that part of fathers estate will go to her children.

Will is not done yet and they are not in the will. New York state

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 29, 2023

In New York State, the distribution of an estate depends on the specifics of the will and the laws of intestate succession. If your stepmother passed away and the will is not yet completed, the distribution of her estate will be based on the existing will, if there is one, or according to state... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Testamentary Trust or Living Will

Hello, I am a man in my late 60s. I do not want a living trust. I want something that is effective at my death.

I have assets (my house, money) and I do not want it to go to my wife. My son is underage. If I hypothetically die in a year, afterwards I would want a trustee (a law office) to... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 29, 2023

Based on your situation, a testamentary trust appears to be a suitable option. A testamentary trust is created by your will and becomes effective upon your death. It allows you to specify how your assets should be managed and distributed after your passing.

In your case, you can designate a...
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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Testamentary trust or Pour Over Will?

I am a man in my late 60s and I want all of my death assets (money, house) to go to a trustee (my attorney's office) when I die. When my underage sons turns the age of majority, then I want him to control these assets.

Should I do a testamentary trust or a pour over will?

Edit:... View More

Nina Whitehurst
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answered on Nov 30, 2023

Most people do both. You create the trust and put your assets into it. The trust specifies who gets what when you die and avoids probate. The trust also specifies who manages the assets for your son until he reaches the age that you designate. It doesn't have to be the age of majority.... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: What properties should be included in a Family Trust?
T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Nov 27, 2023

Here are some specific examples of properties that you may want to consider including in a family trust:

Real estate: If you own real estate, you can transfer it to a family trust to avoid probate. This can save your heirs time and money, and it can also help to ensure that your property is...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: What properties should be included in a Family Trust?
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 28, 2023

Creating a Family Trust can be a strategic part of estate planning, and deciding which properties to include in the trust depends on various factors, including your financial goals, the nature of your assets, and tax considerations. Here's a general overview of the types of properties that are... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Estate inheritance question’ my Dad passed last month! He left a will but my step mother isn’t forthcoming.

Dad left me a letter that my Step Mom would sell the house and gift me with money from the sale. She even stated she would sell the house then get settled then split the proceeds between her son & I.

Last week I asked her to put something in writing legally. She then told me she... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 28, 2023

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It's important to understand that estate and inheritance laws can be complex, and the specific facts of your case will significantly impact your legal options and rights. Here are some general points to consider, but I strongly recommend consulting... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Estate inheritance question’ my Dad passed last month! He left a will but my step mother isn’t forthcoming.

Dad left me a letter that my Step Mom would sell the house and gift me with money from the sale. She even stated she would sell the house then get settled then split the proceeds between her son & I.

Last week I asked her to put something in writing legally. She then told me she... View More

Bonnie Lawston
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Bonnie Lawston
answered on Dec 12, 2023

You should definitely speak with an estate probate attorney before it’s too late or you sign anything. That being said if she is making such an offer perhaps she will put it in writing but again attorney. The letter that your father has left we have no weight in court. It’s a major problem.... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Adding a promissory note to a small estate.

My husband, “T” of NY, lent his brother, “J” of MI, $45000 in ‘08. A 10 yr unsecured promissory note was drawn by the atty that settled their parents’ estate. The note was for T’s share. Only J signed. Per the note, J was to pay $2K in interest over 10 yrs plus $1500/yr. In 8/18 the... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 12, 2023

Handling a promissory note in a small estate is indeed different from transferring a title for a vehicle. The note, especially with an outstanding balance, is considered an asset of the estate and should be included. Since your late husband was owed the balance at the time of his passing, this debt... View More

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