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In situations where a decedent does not leave a Last Will and Testament, the Court must be satisfied that it has received complete kinship information.  This is because both the appointment of the estate administrator and the ultimate distribution of estate assets are based upon identifying the decedent’s next of kin or distributees. Most of the time, it will not be difficult to certify the identities of the decedent’s distributees.  There may be a…
During the course of estate administration, the beneficiaries of an estate may need to wait many months or even years before their beneficial interests are paid.  In many instances a lengthy delay may cause a hardship to a beneficiary, especially when the beneficiary was dependent upon the decedent for support or the decedent’s death impacted the financial stability of the beneficiary. In many cases of estate administration, the executor or administrator or preliminary appointee…
The executors and administrators of a New York estate have a fiduciary responsibility to collect and protect estate assets.  In the event these fiduciaries fail to act in a responsible manner, the administrator or executor’s malfeasance would constitute a breach of fiduciary duty. When a situation arises where it appears a third party is withholding assets that belong to a decedent’s estate, it is the responsibility of the fiduciary to pursue the recovery of…
It is an important role of estate planning to prepare a Last Will and Testament.  This document allows a testator to set forth in various provisions his desires as to the disposition of his estate.  Once a Will is admitted to probate, the terms become validated and the testator’s estate plan is effectuated.  It is then subject to being finalized by the executor settling the estate. As has been discussed in a number of articles…
Estate planning in New York involves the preparation of different documents.  These include a Last Will and Testament, Living Will, Living Trust, Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy.  All of these papers have terms and language which should be clear and specific so that the writer’s intentions are precisely spelled out. In particular, a Will can have numerous provisions that involve descriptions of property being disposed of and identification of beneficiaries who are…
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.…