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New York Probate Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Are a will and a health Proxy made in the state of MA (3 years ago) are valid in the state of NY?
Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Oct 4, 2019

Yes. But as the forms are different, I would change the health care proxy so NY hospitals do not give problems. Also, as state law differs, if the estate is large enough, change may be warranted for NY law if that is where maker of will resides now.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for New York on
Q: Is an administrator’s deed needed?

A family member passed away without a will leaving his wife and adult children. His name was on the deed for their home. His wife applied for and received letters of administration. Does she need to use an administrator’s deed to transfer the property to herself? If she does, would she only... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Sep 15, 2019

Yes. An Administrator’s Deed is the correct instrument for the transfer. Transfer taxes may not be required If there is no consideration for the transfer. However, if the property has a mortgage, relief of the mortgage obligation is consideration.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on
Q: how long does someone have to file a will/estate in surrogate court? should they be taking/liquidating things?

Actually, my sister stole my Mom's latest paperwork out of house about 6 months ago, and is using an old will (I haven't seen it) which she says calls her executor, though circumstances are vastly different now. She hasn't filed the estate, lives in Kentucky, and took a bunch of my Mom's stuff... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Sep 4, 2019

There is no deadline to file a will. If the estate is in New York, you can check with the court to see if any estate was opened.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for New York on
Q: I am the eldest daughter of a man who just died; he has a common law "spouse" and another daughter. What are my rights?

The common law wife was previously his legal wife but they divorced; the other daughter is theirs. I'm currently in New York, he lived in Texas. I do not know if he had a will, or what is "estate" consists of and am not sure I will be considered when everything is reviewed. What are my rights?

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Aug 26, 2019

If he left a Will that would control. If not, Texas law will dictate who is a beneficiary of the estate. If they divorced she might not be considered a common law wife. You should consult a Texas estate attorney to determine what your next steps should be.

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for New York on
Q: My sister is sole heir for an estate. The lawyer(executor) has not given her any information on the estate .

She has not had the will shown to her nor seen what bills need to be paid, what has been paid. He wants to sell the house and the contents. Should she get her own lawyer to make sure he is doing nothing underhand? He had been in trouble years ago for ripping off a client.

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Aug 14, 2019

Yes, if there is enough value in the estate that it matters, she should have her own lawyer.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for New York on
Q: Who's job is it to get the property deed and change the title, my lawyer, the probate lawyer or the sole heir/executor?

I couldn't find the house deed. My lawyer's P.L. said they could for $500. I eventually paid $10 for an official copy at town hall. I'm still not sure how to change the title, I don't understand the included instructions. My lawyer said he could help. I've paid them approx $9-12K for both our wills... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 12, 2019

There is no way any attorney in this forum can answer your question without reviewing your various engagement letters with your NY attorney because the answer depends entirely on the scope of those engagements and the fees quoted.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Tax Law, Elder Law and Probate for New York on
Q: The IRS sent a notice of unclaimed 2017 refund + demand to file 2018 for a now dead person. Do I still need to file?

I'm the executor of Mother's estate + not in good shape to tackle this or pay to have it done. She died on Nov 4, 2018. I would say it's very unlikely she'd owed taxes, considering expenses from her long illness from Mar 2018 till her Nov 2018 death; all her MDW's were made on IRA's, etc. and she... Read more »

D. Mathew Blackburn
D. Mathew Blackburn answered on Aug 12, 2019

You should file 2018 and mark deceased and put the date of death. Without a deceased return the IRS can't know she died.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for New York on
Q: Who needs to be contacted for will probate?

My brother is deceased. No living parents, spouse or children. All siblings except one are living. Probate lawyer is telling us we must find and contact an estranged niece. Is this true? It is hiolding up probate process.

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Aug 2, 2019

It depends on two things. One, what the will says. Two, when the siblings died relative to the decedent. It could be true.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: my late husband and his father set up the irrevocable trust whereas my husband acted as a trustee.

We are still married, and we have two minor kids in a marriage. Do my kids have right for share of this trust?

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Jul 28, 2019

The trust generally spells out what happens when the maker passes away. I assume you father in law was the maker and your husband was the trustee. If no successor trustee is named in the trust, a petition will need to be brought in Court to appoint a trustee. If your kids are not beneficiaries of... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure and Probate for New York on
Q: I need help getting the deed of my late father's house into my name. I cannot afford a lawyer. Please help.

I cannot afford a lawyer, I want to Kno if any lawyers do any pro bono cases. For my children's sake, I need to get the deed transferred to my name, for the mortgage company, so I have a chance at saving the house, so we don't become homeless. If someone is willing to help me, I can work out a... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jul 26, 2019

I am not sure you need to do what you think you need to do. It depends on the equity, if any, in the house.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Can a family member have the right to deny inheritance because of a adoption stating that you are not a member

Or a hier to the family. He has been telling my other cousins that me and my sister have no claim because we were adopted. And this uncle is my so called Godfather

Lawrence Allen Weinreich
Lawrence Allen Weinreich answered on Jul 22, 2019

Unfortunately, adoption or not, a person has the legal right to leave his estate to whomever he wishes. The only limitation is that if the testator is married, in New York, a certain percentage of the estate must be left to the wife.

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 3, 2019

Yes you can.

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