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New York Probate 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

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 Probate for New York on
Q: Can i access money from an estate i am an heir of while it is in administration now that it has completed probate
Bonnie Lawston
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Bonnie Lawston
answered on Jan 10, 2024

If you mean by probate is complete and a fiduciary has been appointed by the Court, it is up to the fiduciary pursuant to the terms of the Will and applicable laws, if he or she wants to make a partial distribution and if its proper under the circumstances. If it is proper under the facts of your... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Military Law, Civil Litigation and Probate for New York on
Q: To whom it may concernMy cousin an army veteran passed away with no will, and won a lawsuit settlement.

What action can I take if he won a lawsuit, and I was the person that provided for him when he was alive and also paid all the expenses for his funeral. I called the law firm and was told that yes he won the case however no one will be getting any of the settlement.

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Dec 29, 2023

If your cousin, an Army veteran, passed away without a will and won a lawsuit settlement, and you were the primary provider for him during his life and covered the expenses for his funeral, there are legal avenues you can explore. Despite the law firm indicating that no one will receive any of the... View More

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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 Probate for New York on
Q: What happens if you don’t get all notarized signatures back in probate

The will of my late aunt is in probate. One person on the family tree, a cousin with a criminal record , who is not a beneficiary, will not sign a notarized form so I can get letters testamentary to settle the estate. We have not seen this cousin in 40 years. Can probate proceed without his... View More

Bonnie Lawston
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Bonnie Lawston
answered on Dec 12, 2023

In most courts, you need to obtain jurisdiction over all necessary parties. If a necessary party refuses to sign the Waiver, then you have to serve them with a Citation to appear in court. After the waiver is filed or in this case, a citation is served in an affidavit of services filed. You can... 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 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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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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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for New York on
Q: Archive.com ad Familysearch.com provides death date information, is this acceptable?

With death information provided by this online site which also connects deceased family members with their other relatives, may I use this information in place of a death certificate? Thanks for your previous response.

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 28, 2023

No, information from Archive.com and FamilySearch.com typically would not be considered an acceptable substitute for a formal death certificate in New York probate proceedings.

While these websites may provide genealogy information and death dates that they have collected, this informal...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on
Q: Are death certificates required as supporting documents for new york section 1310 Administration?

As niece of a New York resident who died intestate and in petitioning for section 1310 Voluntary Administrator, must the filing include death certificates of the deceased parents as well as certicates for the deceased siblings, where only my parents had children? The only asset/liability is a $14k... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 26, 2023

In New York, when petitioning for Section 1310 Voluntary Administration, it is generally necessary to provide a death certificate for the deceased individual whose estate you are administering. This serves as official proof of death and is crucial for the legal process. However, the requirement to... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: I am concerned that I am being charged twice for the same service by my Attorney.

I signed a retainer agreement to settle my father's estate. The estate consisted of a house and a small life insurance policy that was turned over to Nys unclaimed fund. The retainer agreement stated that it included assistance in asset collection and transfer of real property. The day that... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 4, 2023

If you believe your attorney is charging you twice for the same service, it is important to address this concern directly. Review the initial retainer agreement closely to understand the scope of services included, particularly regarding asset collection and real estate transactions. If the... View More

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: My parent passed away (no siblings, only child) and left a will. Trying to manage estate matters with one major issue.

The will was created while I was a minor and never updated. I am an adult now. In the will, personal representatives are named. Only one is still present. In filing documents with the court, I was told that I am unable to receive the paperwork needed because of these representatives being named.... View More

Inna Fershteyn
Inna Fershteyn
answered on Nov 1, 2023

You will definitely need a lawyer on this one. It's a complex NY Probate matter. What are the assets of the estate? Makes me very sad that people didn't do a Trust instead of a will. Also, you could have filed for ADMINISTRAITON without a will and avoided all the headache alltogether... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: My parent passed away (no siblings, only child) and left a will. Trying to manage estate matters with one major issue.

The will was created while I was a minor and never updated. I am an adult now. In the will, personal representatives are named. Only one is still present. In filing documents with the court, I was told that I am unable to receive the paperwork needed because of these representatives being named.... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 5, 2023

As an only child and sole beneficiary named in the will, you have a vested interest in the estate. If the personal representative appointed in the will is unwilling to perform their duties or step aside, you may petition the court to have them removed. This typically involves showing that they are... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Gov & Administrative Law and Probate for New York on
Q: How do I go above a corrupt courts head? Clerk would not even accept documents to file appeal making me untimely?

Probate court has violated every rule and law as well as executor even criminal I believe but I can't afford an attorney. What do I do?

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Sep 29, 2023

If you believe that the court is acting improperly, you may be able to file a complaint with the judicial conduct board or another oversight body. You might also attempt to file your appeal in a higher court, but failure to meet deadlines may be problematic.

1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure, Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Is this fraud and if so, do I have legal recourse to do anything about it?

When my mother died in 2019, I unwittingly inherited a $100K Wells Fargo home equity loan from 2011 that it's my understanding was never paid back, either by her or by my late father. She had been claiming to pay off the loan using my SSI funds, and only in 2022 did I find out that was not... View More

Carl Nelson
Carl Nelson
answered on Sep 19, 2023

While an estate can owe funds for debt of a decedent which can be deducted from the distribution of their assets, you would not be liable on a loan you did not sign (in other words, you cannot “inherit” a loan). You can, however, inherit real estate and that real estate may be encumbered by a... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: My sister left mutual fund money to my mother but my mother’s death preceded the death of my sister. My sister’s husband

also died and before that his brother was appointed his guardian as he had dementia. Am I entitled to this money or should it go to my sister’s husband’s family? This happened in New York City.

Marco Caviglia
Marco Caviglia
answered on Sep 19, 2023

The term "left" is ambiguous. If the mutual fund had someone as the beneficiary and that beneficiary predeceased, the fund reverts to the decedent's estate. If the mutual fund was bequeathed in a will, then the will must be reviewed to determine if someone else specifically gets... View More

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