Jules Martin Haas

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The settlement of a decedent’s estate involves numerous activities.  When a person is appointed as the Administrator or Executor of an estate, one of the most important fiduciary duties is to locate and collect the assets that were owned by the decedent.  In some estates this task can be uncomplicated.  If the decedent owned bank accounts, real estate or funds in  a financial institution which the Executor or Administrator was aware of, the various forms…
The initial steps that are typically taken with regard to estate settlement concern the appointment of a fiduciary.  The fiduciary can be an executor when there is a Last Will and Testament or an Administrator when a person dies intestate. In order to be appointed by the Surrogate’s Court as a fiduciary a person must meet certain qualifications.   Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) section 707 entitled “Eligibility to receive letters” provides basic criteria for a…
Article 81 of the New York Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) sets forth the rules and procedures for the appointment of Guardians for an incapacitated person.  The statute’s title is “Proceedings For Appointment of a Guardian For Personal Needs or Property Management”. The main focus of the statute is to protect individuals who are incapacitated.  Functionality is important to the Court in making its determination.  Whether a person can engage in activities of daily living such…
The preparation and execution of a Last Will and Testament is always an important part of estate planning.  A Will allows a testator to specifically provide for the disposition of assets to the individuals he wants to benefit.  A testator’s intentions can be clearly set forth.   The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has discussed the benefits and specifics regarding planning an estate in many prior posts. It is particularly essential to create a Will…
Estate Planning in New York involves a number of items to be reviewed.  Most individuals initially approach planning by determining how their estate is going to be distributed.  Thus, decisions are made as to various bequests that are to be provided in a Last Will.  A simple bequest may be a specific dollar amount, say $5,000, to be given to a named individual.  There may also be a devise of a certain interest in real…
Contesting a Will in New York is a complicated matter.  There are a number of Statutory and Court prescribed rules that control these proceedings.  The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published numerous articles concerning Will Contests. When someone is challenging the validity of a Will, essentially they are asserting that a basic requirement of an enforceable Will is lacking.  Many references have been provided in this Blog to Estates, Powers and Trusts Law…
New York estate settlement involves many different types of rules and statutes.  When a person dies the first question to be asked is whether the decedent had a Last Will and Testament or whether he died intestate.  Once this fundamental issue is established either a probate petition or a petition for Letters of Administration can be filed with the Surrogate’s Court. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published numerous articles concerning the need to…
There are many different types of provisions that can be written in a Last Will and Testament.  The most common terms include bequests to named beneficiaries and other clauses that provide for the disposition of assets.  Also, the Will should name Executors and Trustees as well as proposed Guardians if minors are possible beneficiaries in an estate plan. One of the more common provisions that is found in a Will is known as a…
Estate planning in New York is important.  The creation of a Last Will and Testament and other documents such as a Living Trust, Health Care Proxy, Living will and a Power of Attorney, allows a person to control the disposition of assets and provide directions regarding personal decision-making. It requires a lot of time and effort to create and finalize these papers.  Assets must be reviewed as well as beneficiary designations and property dispositions.  Alternate…
The administration of a New York estate typically is comprised of three stages.  The first stage involves the appointment of an estate fiduciary such as an Administrator when the decedent dies intestate or an Executor when there is a Last Will and Testament.  In most cases this stage is uneventful and after a complete petition and supporting papers are filed with the Court the fiduciary is appointed.  Sometimes, there is estate litigation concerning a contested