Jules Martin Haas

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There are a number of different types of fiduciaries.  These include Executors, Administrators, Trustees and Guardians.  Even an agent under a Power of Attorney stands in a fiduciary relationship to his principal.  One common aspect relating to all fiduciaries is that they are required to provide a complete accounting of their conduct and activities to beneficiaries. In most cases, accountings in estates and trusts are done voluntarily.  These are informal procedures.  After a beneficiary…
All proceedings regarding an inheritance from a decedent require that interested parties receive proper notice to protect their interests.  Whether an estate involves the probate of a Last Will and Testament or administration where there is intestacy, it is essential to determine the identity of a decedent’s heirs or distributees.  The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published many articles regarding proof of kinship. In both probate and intestate cases, estate lawyers may need…
A person who is planning the disposition of estate assets needs to make a number of decisions.  Among these is the identity of intended beneficiaries and the value or amount of the interest to be provided.  These determinations can occur in different forms.  Where someone prepares a Last Will and Testament the document is going to include various dispositions.  Additionally, with regard to assets that pass outside of the administration estate, such as joint accounts…
It is not uncommon for a person who is domiciled in New York to have the persons who are interested in his estate residing outside of New York.  This situation can occur in a number of contexts. In the event a decedent created a Last Will and Testament, the document may have designated an out-of-state individual to serve as Executor.  Contrary to some misinformation, there is no prohibition for a person who resides in…
In order for a Last Will and Testament to be valid, it must be admitted to probate.  Probating a Will in New York requires following all the procedures in the Surrogate’s Court.  Many times a person who is disinherited or does not receive what he expects in the Will provisions feels that the Will must be invalid.  The conclusion reached is that the document must have been procured through fraud, undue influence or other wrongdoing.…
A person who dies without a Last Will and Testament is said to have died intestate.  According to Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) Section 4-1.1, entitled “Descent and distribution of a decedent’s estate,” there is a statutory priority as to the identity of the individuals who are entitled to inherit a decedent’s estate.  The statute provides, for example, that a surviving spouse is to receive $50,000.00 and one-half of the rest of the…
During the course of preparing a New York estate plan, many different issues must be considered.  Initially, the basic plan must identify beneficiaries and the property or amounts each is to receive.  A thorough review and understanding of the creator’s assets and the ownership interests are essential.  As extensively discussed in the New York Probate Lawyer Blog, a Will only controls assets that are held in the decedent’s name alone.  Joint assets and assets with…
Estate planning in New York, and probating a Last Will in Surrogate’s Court, go hand in hand.  When a person engages in preparing and executing a Last Will, attention must be given to the eventuality of submitting the document to the probate process.  As discussed in many posts in the New York Probate Lawyer Blog, a Will must be executed in accordance with the statutory requirements set forth in Estates, Powers and Trusts Law Section
A person may prepare and execute a number of Last Wills during the course of a lifetime.  It is not unusual to find that a testator signed a new Will only a few years after having created the earlier document. In these situations, the provisions in the Wills may be drastically different which may lead to questions regarding the validity of the later document.  The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has recently published articles concerning…
In a recent post in the New York Probate Lawyer Blog, we discussed the necessity of reviewing various documents that may have an impact on a person’s estate planning or the administration of his estate.  Such papers would include divorce or matrimonial agreements and business papers. A recent Manhattan estate case decided by Manhattan Surrogate Nora Anderson on July 6, 2020 provides an excellent example of the need to examine such papers and agreements.  In…