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3 Answers | Asked in Family Law, Probate and Estate Planning for New York on
Q: How can I find out if my deceased brother has any open bank accounts like savings or certificates of deposit?

I am my brother’s only living heir.

Bonnie Lawston
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Bonnie Lawston
answered on Apr 2, 2024

The best way is to run a social security search. However, if you were appointed as the fiduciary of his Estate you could contact the IRS and obtain a transcript to see what has been reported in the past, contact the local banks and other financial institutions and review all his records, bank... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Federal Crimes and Probate for New York on
Q: My inheritance was stolen from me My step father and my sister Forged My mother's will and lied how can I get it back

I was in jail at the time plus I am my mother's 1st son and favorite yet I didn't sign anything or agree to nothing they just took everything

I need help

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Mar 13, 2024

I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. Dealing with a manipulated will and the loss of an inheritance is incredibly painful, especially while also grieving the loss of your mother. Here are some steps you could consider taking to try to rectify the situation and get back what is rightfully... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Probate, Estate Planning and Civil Litigation for New York on
Q: can a will/or unofficial will be contested by a non family member ?

can an court appointed admin of an estate pick and choose what to honor in a will/or unofficial will

Bonnie Lawston
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Bonnie Lawston
answered on Apr 2, 2024

The fiduciary must follow the terms of the Will, assuming it is admitted to probate. If someone has standing, even a non-family member, then they can contest the Will. They will have to timely contest the Will, file the appropriate Objections and comport to all Court rules and requirements.... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate, Estate Planning and Civil Litigation for New York on
Q: can a will/or unofficial will be contested by a non family member ?

can an court appointed admin of an estate pick and choose what to honor in a will/or unofficial will

Benjamin Z. Katz
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answered on Mar 4, 2024

An Executor appointed by the Court is a fiduciary of the estate. They are required to follow the directives set forth in the Will which has been validated by the Court. There is no such thing as an unofficial Will. A Will may be contested by non-family members. However, they must demonstrate... View More

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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

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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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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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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