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New York Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: a man passed on 2/26/20 he divorced my sister 20 years ago. he has no living relatives. his family line is extinct.

he has no will. can my sister make a claim to his estate

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

No. Your sister has no legal claim under NY law.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: How can I settle my paternal Uncle's estate, in Puerto Rico, from NY, after having paid a Lawyer who disappeared?

My father's eldest and last surviving brother, passed away in December of 2016, leaving behind a property & bank accounts, which have gone unclaimed. I helped my Dad find a Lawyer who, was paid a retainer of nearly $3000 but, did nothing for which he was paid -- in fact, he has ignored my... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Mar 8, 2020

As a first step, you could contact an attorney in Puerto Rico who handles Estate Matters. You could also repost your question under Puerto Rico (follow the link that says "Show More States.") There are attorneys who practice in Puerto Rico who are active on this Q & A board. You could... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Health Care Law for New York on
Q: Is an irrevocable trust created over 5 years ago, subject to the Medicaid 5 year look back rule?

Irrevocable trust was funded with assets 6 years ago.

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

Likely not. That is the point of such a trust.

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Q: My dad lived in P.Rico past away and and lift me his Property, but I'm in nyc what can I do
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Mar 1, 2020

If he was a resident of Puerto Rico and left a Will, it will need to be probated in Puerto Rico. If he left it to you some other way there may be other ways to deal with it.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for New York on
Q: what forms do i need to complete to transfer real property to a living trust?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 28, 2020

Real estate is transferred using a document of conveyance called a deed. However, there are a variety of types of deeds, and the choice is not always obvious. I do not ever recommend using quitclaim deeds because of issues with insurability. That leaves possibly a warranty deed or a special... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for New York on
Q: My father was married to my mother at the time of his death. They were not living together. Should she fill out married

Or married but separated on the death certificate worksheet ?

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

Just married. Separated means a separation agreement.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for New York on
Q: I have a real estate worth $850.000 in Long island city, NY. How much tax my kids and spouse has to pay when i pass away
David Ostrove
David Ostrove answered on Feb 27, 2020

Your kids pay no estate tax. Your exemption will more than cover $850,000.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Hi:The father of my children bought a property in PR cash and passed away with out doing a deed. What happens now

We where never married, we had 2 children together. He has other kids from 2 different women. One never allowed him to see his child but is claiming money

Howard E. Knispel
Howard E. Knispel answered on Feb 20, 2020

If he owned the property he must have a deed. I assume you mean he does not have a will. Was he married at the time of his death? An estate action must be filed for intestate succession to determine the inheritence rights. Depending upon where he died, someone need to file the papers there and in... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: My father has an out of state will

My father has a will he created by Legal Zoom, when living in NY. He passed away while residing in NC. As I was named the executor, I met with the county clerks office to begin handling his affairs. I was told that NC requires the last 2 pages of the will (notary & witness pages) to be... Read more »

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

The is no requirement for a notary to be involved in a Will at all in New York. Estate Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) 3-2.1 requires the signature of the person signing the Will and two witnesses. None of those signatures need to be notarized.

Many times witnesses are asked to sign a...
Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Estate Planning for New York on
Q: My mother transferred the deed to her home to me Sister found out Mother now saying I verbally promised to share it

Mother now suing me for return of the home Breach of contract.

Opinion? Mother said this agreement was made in front of her lawyer

Lawyer who handled deed transfer saying no promise to share home was made

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Feb 14, 2020

You need to defend the case, but if the facts are as you say, you should win.

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2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Banking and Probate for New York on
Q: Is it illegal for my Dad's Girlfriend of 13 years to use his ATM card after he dies? What law makes this illegal in NY?

My father was declared brain dead on Jan 9th, and passed away on Jan 24th. His girlfriend has made 2 withdrawals using ATM, one of which weeks after death. The DA said that it's not illegal if he gave her permission; but, how can he give permission if dead? They are not married. He died... Read more »

Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay answered on Feb 13, 2020

Regardless of whether you are able to convince the DA to take action, the Estate can commence civil litigation to recover any funds wrongfully withdrawn.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Hi, my nephew recently passed away. Is it true that his estate will have to be shared with the deadbeat father

The man never gave a nickel to help raise him. He didn't even bother coming to the funeral. He was 29 what can we do?

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

If you nephew didn’t leave a Will, the law of intestacy sets out the order of distribution. If he had no wife or children, parents would be next, even deadbeat ones. This is why it is important to have a plan. Of course, the father can waive his rights.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: What is the proper wording/phrasing for adding children as alternate beneficiaries to my Will?

I am preparing my will and have a primary beneficiary, but I want to add as alternate beneficiaries, the children, biological foster and adopted children of my nephew and cousins.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 7, 2020

There is no one “right” way. It all depends on your intentions. If a client of mine wanted to do that I would have to ask several more questions in order to develop the wording. If you want this done right obtain the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: In NY intestacy, who is included in "issue of grandparents"? Are aunts and uncles by marriage included?

In case where someone died intestate with no spouse, no descendants at all, and no surviving siblings, parents, or grandparents, my understanding is that the next distributees to be considered are "issue of grandparents".

If one child of the grandparents is still living, and... Read more »

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

Estates, Powers &Trusts Law Section 4-1.1 states:

“6) One or more grandparents or the issue of grandparents (as hereinafter defined), and no spouse, issue, parent or issue of parents, one-half to the surviving grandparent or grandparents of one parental side, or if neither of them...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Disappearance of lawyer. Can we close estate without her? Or can we access the bulk of the funds?

My father’s estate (death 2016) did not close yet because we had to sell his house, which we could not do until one month ago. But now, the estate lawyer is unresponsive to us. We want to know if I write a letter as the other heir denying need for accounting requests, can my brother, the... Read more »

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

You can close the estate without a lawyer, but you should probably consult one to make sure everything was done legally, so there are no problems. If everyone is in agreement on everything, closing the estate is simple.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Will the court allow me to use money from my daughter’s inheritance money to purchase a house?

I’m the guardian for her account until she’s 18

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

You may need to explain how this is a benefit for her and why it is necessary. Courts will generally deny large withdrawals from accounts for minors unless it makes sense.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: My brother passed away recently and I am not his executor.

My question is that recently I found out that he had a 401K and he did not have anyone listed as beneficiary since I am his only next of kin am I entitled to any of that 401K? I am sure that all his assets will go to probate and then a decision will be made. Thank you.

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jan 15, 2020

You need to file an administration proceeding. The amount of the 401k governs the type.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: When does a testamentary trust terminate?

A friend passed away leaving his house to his son in a testamentary trust. The Will reads: “The trust shall terminate upon my son attaining the age of 40”. His son is 52 so the Executrix/Trustee is transferring the property over to him. She refuses however to transfer the life insurance... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jan 8, 2020

Based on your post, only the house is in trust. A designated beneficiary keeps the proceeds. If the designation is her alone and not her as trustee, she is doing the right thing.

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4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for New York on
Q: What can I do (or my Mom) to regain control over family’s estate, after my brother used my mom’s power of attorney to

change all legal documentation, making himself a sole owner of all the houses, trusts, insurance policies, LLC’s, etc. He stole over $15 mil while my mom is still alive.

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jan 6, 2020

Your mom can sue him for breach of fiduciary duty, self dealing and fraud and void the transactions. However, I would need to know more to properly advise you. In any case, you and your mom should speak with an attorney.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Cousin borrowed money from father now father passed away she now says she doesn't have to pay me back because he died.

I'm the executor of his will

John Anthony Pappalardo
John Anthony Pappalardo answered on Jan 6, 2020

You need an attorney who practices in Surrogate Court

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