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Probate

Saturday, May 18, 2019

How Can I Become an Administrator or an Executor of an Estate?


Probate or Administration: In New York, if the decedent had a Will and had assets that did not pass by operation of law (such as joint property with rights of survivorship or accounts with beneficiary designations), then the Will must be "probated" and an Executor must be appointed. If the decedent did not have a Will and had assets that did not pass by operation by law, then an Administrator must be appointed.

Who can file a Petition: In order to bring a petition of Probate or Administration to court, you must have standing. If the decedent had a Will, then the nominated Executor will be the one filing the petition. If there is no Will, then SCPA 1001 determines who has priority in becoming the Administrator of the Estate.

Read more . . .


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Presumption of Revocation of Lost Will is Not Easy to Overcome


You must be very careful to store your Will properly, otherwise, if it cannot be found, the court is likely to consider it revoked and your assets will be distributed in accordance with intestacy rules.


In recent case In Re Scollan (2018), in which a valid Will could not be found, the court ruled that a presumption of revocation of the Will was not overcome.


There is a strong presumption that a Will known to be in the decedent's possession that cannot be located after the decedent's death was destroyed by the decedent with the intent to revoke. The retention of a copy of the Will by the decedent's attorney, decedent's statements regarding testamentary intentions, and suspicion that the Will was fraudulently destroyed (without supporting facts and circumstances) are not sufficient to overcome the presumption.


If you are afraid that your Will is at risk of being lost or destroyed (due to memory issues, the behavior of omitted beneficiaries, or any other reason), then your Will should be stored either in your attorney's office, a safe deposit box, or with a trusted friend.


Read more . . .


Thursday, January 3, 2019

CryptoWills: What They Are and How They Work


More than 50% of the adults in the US do not have a Will. Most assume that that they do not have enough assets to bother with one, or that they will write one when they are older. Yet dying without a Will results is going to result in the person’s assets being divided in accordance with the state’s laws rather than the person’s own wishes. As a result, not having a Will leads to delays, expenses, and family battles, not to mention hours of headaches and paperwork..


Read more . . .


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Regular Wills vs. Crypto Wills


Most people want to pass down their assets in accordance with their wishes, with minimal costs, minimal delays, and minimal strife amongst the heirs. Yet there are several problems with using traditional Wills to accomplish these goals. These problems include: not having one’s wishes honored because of losing one’s Will; or having your the Will challenged by heirs; not addressing the distribution of all the of your assets because the Will was written years before death and new assets have been acquired; and high costs of lawyers, h costs needed to pay to lawyers, courts, and executors to finalize the Will.

CryptoWills, which use blockchain, may address some of these problems. First, if the data is stored on blockchain, it cannot be lost.
Read more . . .


Monday, November 26, 2018

5 Things to Do Immediately to Protect Your Digital Assets, Including Crypto-Currency


 

Once you stop to think about it, you might will realize you have more digital assets than physical ones. These include online banking and brokerage accounts (banking and brokerage), photo storage sites, social media accounts, and cryptocurrency. If you were to die tomorrow, does anyone have the right to possess these accounts? Will they know the necessary steps to access them?

Online providers handle the accounts of deceased users differently. Some, (like Facebook,) have created a legacy contract, which enables one to designate a person to manage one’s account after death. Others do not have such a clear policy, and there are federal laws (such as The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and The Stored Communications Act) that severely limits provider’s’ ability to share personal account information with others.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How to make a statement after you are dead

Most people want to leave a legacy. Yet most people also have no idea how to go about doing it.  One simple way is through a life insurance policy.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What is a Public Administrator?

The Public Administrator is one of a chosen group of attorneys in one office per county who the Court often calls upon to administer to non-standard cases.

The Public Administrator generally has the job of handling estates of people who die without a Will and who have no close relatives who are able to administer the estate: If your nearest living relative is a cousin (or more distant) the Public Administrator will need to be placed on notice. In addition, the Public Administrator often replaces initial Executors or Administrators who are unable to qualify or unable to serve.

The Public Administrator’s job is to collect all of the assets of the estate, pay the outstanding bills and distribute the remaining money to the distributees of the deceased. The job of finding the distributees is often the most time-consuming and expensive, as distant relatives may have to be located in multiple countries with the help of genealogists or investigators.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Be very careful about titling assets – you could disinherit your children!

I received a call this month from a man who wanted to  receive his share of his father’s building. The property had a value of approximately $4MM. There were 5 children in total, 2 from father’s first marriage (one of whom was this client) and 3 from father’ second marriage.  The caller could not understand why, after the death of his father, the property was being listed for sale by his 3 half-siblings without any input from him.

After I looked up the ownership of the property, I had to tell him the unpleasant truth: He will not get a penny from the sale of this real estate.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Are Heirs Responsible for Decedent’s Debts?

According to the most recent data from Credit.com, 73% of consumers had outstanding debt when they were reported as dead, with the average total balance of $62K. Debts included home loans, credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and student loans.

An estate is responsible to pay the deceased person’s debts. If there is sufficient money, the creditors get paid first, and the beneficiaries receive whatever remains.


Read more . . .


Monday, July 25, 2016

Executor of your Will: who should be named and what are his responsibilities?


An Executor is the person named in the Will who ensures that deceased person’s wishes are carried out after death, that all the assets are found, that all the debts are paid and all the money is distributed according to deceased person’s wishes.

Responsibilities: The duties of an executor include: finding the Will, hiring a probate lawyer to put together a probate petition (including getting all the signatures from all the necessary parties), filing the petition and the Will with the court in order to be appointed as an Executor by the court, appearing in court (if necessary), notifying credit cards companies and banks about death, setting up an estate bank account, filing an inventory of assets with the court, carrying out the wishes of the decedent (including selling the real estate and other assets, if necessary), paying all the necessary income and estate taxes, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.  

Who should you name: as you can see, the probate process can be long and complex. The executor should be someone responsible and capable of handling such a task. Usually people name relatives or friends, because they know that the person will carry out their wishes.


Read more . . .


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