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New York Probate Questions & Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Landlord - Tenant and Probate for New York on

Q: My friend’s common-law husband died and left his rent stabilized apartment to her in his will. The building is a co-op.

A squatter has been there for three months. Does she have rights? What can she do?

Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 30, 2019

If it is not her primary residence the rent stabilization law causes the apartment to be lost. The landlord will evict the occupant. You cannot transfer rights like this by will.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: Should I give a copy of my will to my executor?

I had a revised will drawn up. I asked the attorney if I should give a copy to my executor. I was told not to give him a copy and to put the one I had in a safe place and let the executor know where it was. It seems to me that the executor should get a copy.

Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 26, 2019

The executor should have a copy, with a note where the original is located.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: My brother sold father's stocks The probate case was closed Can we get it re opened in Fl after ten years? Thank you

Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 25, 2019

If the case was in FL it is an FL question, but the answer generally is yes.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: My aunt left me $10,000 in her will. It was probated in June, 2012/13. It's taken until now to receive money.

Was I entitled to receive interest accrued on top of that amount? He says no. Due to a legal issue I had with the Executrix. She changed my aunt's will after her husband died in 2005 giving herself 50% of the assets instead of 8.33% she and I were both to receive on a $1.2 million estate.... Read more »

Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 18, 2019

You do not get interest.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: Wife is sole inheritor, but not executor. Can executor gift a vehicle to 3d party before estate close if wife agrees?

My father died intestate in NY, small estate (>$50K), my mom (his wife) did not want to be administrator so I am doing it (his daughter). Father had 3 vehicles, one of which is a NY registered vehicle physically located in another state. Father was very clear on his desire to gift this vehicle to... Read more »

Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 18, 2019

You may transfer the car to anyone. I would get something in writing from your mom.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for New York on

Q: My brother wants to take my dad to court to challenge him on ownership of him and my mother's house - is this possible?

My mom and my dad sold the house they owned together in NY and bought a house together (theyre both on the mortgage) in Florida in ~2013. My dad has never lived in the house, he stayed in New York with his mom. My parents separated but stayed legally married. My brother moved to FL with my mom. My... Read more »

Lawrence Allen Weinreich answered on Jun 14, 2019

Under NY law, I don't see that you have any case against your father. You can try to bring an action to be appointed the guardian of his property if he is incapable of making decisions, but that is a long process and if your father is able to make rational decisions you will loose. You can try... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on

Q: How long does a probate attorney need to wait to contact the heirs, taking into account the diciest didn't leave a will?

Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 14, 2019

Your question is confusing. Probate means a will. Heirs receive stuff, so their will is generally not relevant. "Diciest" is unclear. Without understanding the facts, contacting heirs is the first thing an attorney does when hired, so the answer is no time.

2 Answers | Asked in Legal Malpractice and Probate for New York on

Q: Can an attorney refuse to draw up a will if he/she does not agree with some of the terms?

e.g. A person wishes to make an animal shelter a beneficiary and the attorney feels that human charities should have priority.

Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jun 8, 2019

Attorneys are not obligated to accept any client or any work. However, if it is shown that their refusal is illegal discrimination they are subject to all potential civil and administrative penalties. In this case, there does not appear to be such discrimination. If the attorney has taken your... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: Can property in probate be rented to help cover costs of final bills?

My husband was awarded administrator of his fathers estate. My father-in-Law was not married and my husband is his only child. The estate has a mobile home on 1/2 acre of land. Final bills keep rolling in and we are trying to hold the property. Can we rent the property to help pay the final bills?

Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 3, 2019

Yes you can.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for New York on

Q: My co-worker significant other died without a will. Who owns their camp? He has 4 adult children.

His brother is trying to say he owns the camp

Michael David Siegel answered on May 20, 2019

When you say camp, do you mean a business that is a camp for kids? His kids inherit his estate, not his brother. But a business is likely incorporated, and the corporate papers will govern what happens to your friend's share.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: Can someone tell me what this says in non-legalese?

This paragraph appears in my last will and testament:

I direct that all estate, succession, inheritance, transfer, legacy, or other death taxes imposed by the laws of the United States or any state thereof upon any property constituting a part of my gross taxable estate or upon any... Read more »

Michael David Siegel answered on May 14, 2019

If there is not enough money in the estate to pay taxes, people who got other property have to pay in proportion to what they got.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: my mom passed but left a letter stating my dad gets the house her and a house in alabama is this a legal document

this was not witnessed or notarized meant Step dad they were married 45 yrs

Michael David Siegel answered on May 13, 2019

No. But you and your stepdad can work it out between you if you agree. If not, you get half and he gets half, but you need to form an estate.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for New York on

Q: What should I do with old insurance policies on my grandfather that I found among papers in my parent's estate?

There are three insurance policies, dated 1947, that my maternal grandmother had in which her husband was the beneficiary. In the event of his decease, the benefit would go to her eldest son. That son is also deceased, as are all the other children of my grandmother. However, the wife of that uncle... Read more »

Michael David Siegel answered on May 11, 2019

Call the companies and see if they were cashed in. Likely they were. You do not need to show an actual policy to cash in.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: In NY to probate a will how much of a genealogy is needed? What documents, etc?

There is a clear will leaving everything to six friends. I’ve found that he had five uncles, all dead. He had no communication with any cousins.

Do cousins need to be found? What does the court require?

Michael David Siegel answered on May 1, 2019

Honestly, this is not a simple estate. There is a pro se clerk you can talk to in the Surrogate's Court, but in my view you should have a lawyer. Your questions are so broad and so general, it would be like teaching a course in probate. See the clerk. If you still cannot understand what to do,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: Nys if my grandmother had no will and 1 surviving child and 1 predeceased child (,my mother) who inherits everything?

My grandmother had 2 children, my mother and my aunt. My mother died ten years ago and my grandmother died recently leaving behind no will. Does my aunt automatically inherit everything or do my sister and I have rights to my mother's share?

Deborah Wolf Miller answered on Apr 11, 2019

Your mother's children have the rights your mother would have had, according to NY EPTL 4-1.1(a)(3), as long as your grandmother had no surviving spouse. Your aunt does not automatically inherit everything.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: My mother passed away due to illness. She had no will but had personal belongings that she wanted her children to divide

We are 6 siblings all grown My brother took all of her personal belongings jewlerey, coin collections ect. He refuses to share the items. What can I do in this case?

Michael David Siegel answered on Jan 12, 2019

Not a lot. Unless these items are titled in some way, your brother will say they were gifted to him prior to death, and you have little to say against it.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on

Q: My father passed away over 20 years ago. It was recently discovered that he did not cash some of his pension checks

The pension administrator indicated the unpaid checks are designated as part of of my father's estate. My mother passed away 1 month ago. Should we include my mother in the letter of adminstration?

Michael David Siegel answered on Jan 10, 2019

The answer depends upon the amount involved, and whether the funds are held by the pension fund or have been sent to unclaimed funds at New York State.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for New York on

Q: My mother died 2007 and left a paid home behind in PR. what is needed to sell property

My sister who resides in Puerto Rico has assumed complete control over the home. She refuses to provide specific information and her attorney will not share information. I am one of three sisters (heirs) who reside in New York City and of us all want to sell the home. what can be done?

Michael David Siegel answered on Jan 6, 2019

It is a PR issue and you need a PR lawyer.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: If I had a joint account with a parent do I need to go through probate or can I just hand out themoney according to will

Michael David Siegel answered on Jan 4, 2019

Neither. If it is a joint account the money is yours. Just take it.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for New York on

Q: Using CA Small Estate Affidavit to settle father's CA estate. How do we do NY Ancillary Probate for vacation home in NY?

Because there are no letters of administration with the CA Small Estate Affidavit, how do we we file with the NY Surrogate Court?

Also, since none of the executors or beneficiaries are NY State residents can we file it ourselves or are we required to use a lawyer?

Lastly, we have... Read more »

Ben F Meek III answered on Jan 2, 2019

I assume from your questions that there is a valid last will and testament and that your father did not have assets in California that necessitated its being probated. Whether the Will must be probated in NY depends on the nature of your father’s real estate ownership there. For example, if... Read more »

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