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New York Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: How can I see if an estate tax return was filed?

I am waiting to be reimbursed for the final expenses that I covered. The will stipulates that the estate will cover the costs. I paid the final expenses in April of 2019. My last correspondence with the attorney (about 6 weeks ago) was that because the decedent owned property in another country... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jul 9, 2020

You cannot see the returns. You can go to the court to see the file to see if the estate is closed. Did you file a claim? If so, you can petition to compel payment of it.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: My husband and sister in law are co trustees of their mothers (who recently passed away) trust. Their mother's attorney

Wants to have a meeting and my husband wanted me to join him the attorney advise my husband that legally he can only meet with the 2 trustees of the trust no 3rd parties allowed my husband was wondering if this is true as he did want me to attend with him and he does not like or trust his moms... Read more »

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

If your husband and sister in law consent you can be allowed to attend. However, they must first understand how it impacts attorney-client privilege. I understand the attorney’s resistance but he should have explained it to your husband.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: I need help with an irrevocable trust of my grandmother regarding her house. She has died how do I obtain my portion?

The trust divided her house into 4 ways. 1 of the beneficiaries has died leaving 3 of us left. 1 of the 3 is currently living in the home refuses to leave or settle the house affairs. I do not know how to obtain my piece of the house. I do not have money to hire a lawyer to settle this. The house... Read more »

Gary Lane
Gary Lane answered on Jun 12, 2020

Who was appointed as the Trustee (administrator)? It is their job to distribute the assets. If they cannot do it voluntarily, as hoped, then their alternative is to file in Probate Court, to force the sale and distribution. They should hire an attorney if they are not one. The cost would come out... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: A lawyer representing the estate of my Fathers first wife is asking me for a death cert.-am I due any compensation?

The lawyer said the court is requiring my Dads death certificate in order to settle the first wife's estate...they were divorced in 1965 and she died in 2010

Howard E. Knispel
Howard E. Knispel answered on Jun 11, 2020

Are you referring to a death certificate for your father? You have no legal obligation to provide this. You can ask for the cost of obtaining it to be reimbursed.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: I am the granter of a irrevocable trust set up as the beneficiary for a life insurance policy on myself. I want to

make a partial surrender of the policy to get money to pay my personal taxes. The trustees have agreed to this partial surrender . The insurance company has determined that the surrender is not a taxable event. What problems can I face legal or tax wise if i take the funds to pay my personal taxes.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jun 5, 2020

There are many potential issues, not the least of which is your use of the assets in this trust as your personal piggy bank could cause the whole purpose of the trust to be derailed. There is a right way to do this and a wrong way. You should consult with the attorney who help you set this up.... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Can I sue my father's sister if she stole my father's belongings ? He has no will
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jun 2, 2020

You would have to begin an Administration proceeding to be named as Administrator for your father's estate and then you could sue her on behalf of the estate.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Should I sign the waiver of statutory requirements and beneficiary receipt/release?
Sharon M. Siegel
Sharon M. Siegel answered on Jun 5, 2020

I agree that you should consult a lawyer before signing any document (not limited to the one mentioned) which can affect your rights as a beneficiary. Also, I would mention that if you don't sign, you will have a lot of time before any next step due to covid. The Surrogate's Court is... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: How does an Anti-Lapse Statute in NY apply, if two named relatives listed passed away with no children or wife?

my great aunt left a will naming nieces and nephews.

only my mother's immediate family - two brothers and sisters were in close contact and took active care of her. i.e shopping. hospitalizations from repeated falls, helping her walk and treating her infections.

the other... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on May 24, 2020

Anti-lapse statute in NY allows children of named beneficiaries to receive gifts. Since the deceased beneficiaries died without children it doesn’t apply. Most properly drafted Will address that contingency. An attorney would have to see the Will to properly advise in this case.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for New York on
Q: diff between proceeding relief and non proceeding relief in surrogate court efile?

I am trying to efile for voluntary administration as executor of my mother's will. Need to select either court action proceeding relief or court action non proceeding relief

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on May 6, 2020

You cannot open a new matter in NYS courts yet. Thus, you cannot efile for a new voluntary administration under the procedure started this week.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: My father passed away on April 3, 2020. I only discovered then that I had been disowned over a phone call made in 2010.

This news had been kept from me since 2010. The terms of the IRA (part of the trust) have been changed. The terms of an irrevocable trust have also been changed. The family attorney (Welch & Zink, of Corning, NY) no longer represents the family in favor of ". . . a close friendship with... Read more »

Lawrence Allen Weinreich
Lawrence Allen Weinreich answered on May 5, 2020

This is not a family law question, it should be posted in the trusts and estates section. In addition, you should discuss that any lawyer the issue of the "family" attorney who now only represents your brother as there may be a conflict depending on the circumstances and facts.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: In intestate insolvency, can unpaid creditors “claw back” beneficiary inheritance from a sole heir-in-law?

When an intestate estate is closed insolvent after tens of thousands of dollars were left to a sole heir-in-law in long-standing beneficiary accounts (>5 years old), and debts of up to a few thousand dollars were left unpaid, is there any way such creditors (possibly including Medicaid) would be... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on May 1, 2020

Your question has an inconsistency which makes it unclear. An estate is not "closed" insolvent if payments were made to beneficiaries. Further, "closed" is a formal term, meaning a final decree from the Surrogate. Do you have that? Medicaid can claw back if they made a... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for New York on
Q: what happen if John bequeathed a prized stamp collection in his friend’s name, Travis. However, prior to John’s death,

John sold the entire stamp collection to a museum. The will was not altered to reflect the change in ownership.

Lawrence Allen Weinreich
Lawrence Allen Weinreich answered on Apr 28, 2020

It doesn't matter that the will wasn't changed, the will is effective as the date of death as to what is in John's possession at that time. Since the stamps were no longer John's for whatever reason, the bequest is like it never was.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: If my parents were separated and living in different states for 25 years is my father still entitled to any estate in Fl
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Apr 27, 2020

If they were still legally married, he has all rights of a married spouse unless there is an agreement between them waiving those rights. That might include a prenuptial or separation agreement.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Hi I am married and I have considerable debt that I don't want my wife to be responsible for if i die how do I protect

I heard we could maybe do a prenuptial agreement despite already being married that would protect her from my personal debt should I die. Or perhaps there is some kind of trust that would protect her from creditors should I pass away? I was thinking about insurance but I have a severe heart... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Apr 27, 2020

As long as her assets are in her name, there is no problem. If the assets are joint, now might be the time to move assets to her name. Depending upon the debt amount and how your assets are held, bankruptcy is an option for you. A trust can work, but the value of a trust depends upon the kind... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Is the sole survivor of a family entitled to all family photos now distributed to 2nd and 3rd generation family members?

family album pictures saved over the years are now in possession of nieces and nephews. as the sole survivor of my family, do I have a legal right to these pictures, many of which I have only a memory about. And if so, what could I do to get them back? Included from memory are pictures of my... Read more »

Lawrence Allen Weinreich
Lawrence Allen Weinreich answered on Apr 26, 2020

The question is who had the pictures originally. If it was your parents then you may be entitled to them, if the pictures were in someone else's possession and was given by them to the nieces & nephews then you have no claim. The best thing to do is ask for copies of the pictures be made for you.

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning, Probate and Tax Law for New York on
Q: My father passed away last year and he is married to his wife who iam not in great terms with because of her infidelity.

Can I file his taxes or should I leave it alone? Is it legal for me to do it since he is married. He never gave consent for any specific individual to file taxes as we were in the process of doing so while he was diagnosed with cancer. Rapid divorce was not as rapid as his diagnosis unfortunately... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Apr 20, 2020

Only his estate representative can file his taxes. The wife is due the first $50,000 of his estate unless he had a will, so unless the refund is more and there are other assets, there is no need to do it.

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Cell phone tower on building next door shooting signals right into our apartment

We live on the 8th floor. Right next to our building is another building which has 6 floors and cell phone towers on the roof. One of the antennas is shooting right next into our apartment (its right across our windows, less than 50 yards). First we didn't pay attention to it but then we... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Apr 15, 2020

An attorney couldn't comment meaningfully on this data. An electrical engineer, microwave engineer, health professional, or other professionals familiar this field would be in a better position to have insight into this. Good luck

Tim Akpinar

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: will there be any problems with selling properties in a trust that was signed by PoA on the same day the grantor passed

We thought the trust was done weeks before but it wasn’t. The lawyer handling it or boggling it said no title company would insure the property thus creating a big problem

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Apr 10, 2020

There probably will be issues. More information is needed to properly assess.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Each state needs to recoup $ for Medicaid payments. Can an LLC protect me as much as a trust in ny?
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Mar 14, 2020

If you put property in an LLC where you are the only member, Medicaid would consider it your property. LLCs are useful for business purposes and limit liability.

An irrevocable trust transfers property out of your control. A properly prepared irrevocable trust can provide income to you...
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