Jules Martin Haas

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It is well known that writing an estate plan is essential to have an effectual distribution of assets at death.  A lot of time and effort can be expended creating a Last Will, Living Will, Health Care Proxy and Power of Attorney that reflect a person’s desires and intentions.  The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published numerous articles examining the planning of estates. Additionally, it should be recognized that in order for a Last…
After the death of an individual, the usual course is to proceed to have a fiduciary appointed to represent the decedent’s estate.  This is necessary in order to have someone who has the legal authority to collect the decedent’s assets, pay estate expenses and obligations and ultimately, distribute the net estate to beneficiaries. In some cases the individual would have left a Last Will and Testament, which must be probated.  This results in…
Fiduciaries in New York such as executors, administrators and trustees are obligated to account to the beneficiaries.  This means that estate and trust beneficiaries can request that they be provided with a financial accounting of the fiduciary’s activities.  An account typically has specific information contained in various schedules showing the assets and income received, the investments made, the expenses and debts that are charged against the assets and the balance of funds or assets remaining…
Preparing and probating a New York Will is important in order for a testator to effectuate an estate plan.  There are many considerations that an individual needs to consider when planning an estate such as how assets are to be distributed and the identity of the beneficiaries who are to receive dispositions under the Will.  Guidance from an experienced estate lawyer regarding these matters should be sought. There are many subtle and not generally…
In New York there are many different types of residences that may have been occupied by a decedent.  The settlement of an estate may be impacted by the nature of such home.  For instance, a person may have been living in a rental apartment, or in a cooperative or condominium unit.  Another possibility is that a decedent owned and resided in a single or multi-family home. An estate attorney in New York who is also…
The appointment of a fiduciary is essential for the administration of a decedent’s estate.  Assets that were owned solely in a decedent’s name at death are not accessible unless the Court appoints a duly authorized representative.  Such representative can be an administrator if the person dies intestate or an executor if there is a Last Will and Testament. Both executors and administrators have duties and responsibilities.  Their primary job is to identify, protect and…
A Last Will and Testament in New York must comply with the basic statutory requirements provided by the estate laws.  The primary statute regarding the fundamental aspects of Will preparation and execution is Estates, Powers and Trusts Law Section 3-2.1 entitled “Execution and attestation of wills; formal requirements”. According to the statute, a Will is to be in writing, the testator is to sign at the end, and there must be at least two witnesses…
Upon the death of an individual, the process to administer the estate commences.  Sometimes a person leaves a Last Will and Testament.  If there is no Will, then the person dies intestate and the distribution of the estate is subject to the laws of intestacy.  A primary function in administering an estate is to collect and protect estate assets. One type of asset that is commonly owned by a New York decedent, especially in…
It is not unusual that after an executor or administrator is appointed by the Surrogate’s Court that he or she finds out there is estate litigation to contend with.  For instance, the decedent may have left numerous debts which are unpaid and the creditors may decide to bring lawsuits to collect what is claimed to be due. In other cases, a decedent may have been involved in a business or real estate transaction in which…
The procedure and terminology in a case involving a New York estate can be perplexing to those unfamiliar with this area of the law.  Surrogate’s Court matters typically involve statutes that are part of the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) and the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL). The Surrogate’s Court is the forum in which matters such as the probate of a Last Will and Testament or the administration of an intestate estate