The New York Probate Litigation Blog

Category Archives: LEGAL INFORMATION

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Application To Withdraw Waiver Consenting To Probate Denied By Brooklyn Surrogate

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION, PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Prior to the commencement of a probate proceeding or an administration proceeding, the attorney for the estate will normally send a waiver consenting to the admission of the will to probate or to the appointment of an administrator to all interested parties who are members of the closest class of kinship to the decedent or… Continue Reading

Ex- Wife Compelled To Turnover Life Insurance Proceeds After Her Interest In Decedent’s Insurance Policy Was Extinguished

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION, PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Revisions to New York’s Estate Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) enacted in 2008 were intended to correct inadvertent failures of a spouse to correct provisions to eliminate ex spouses as beneficiaries. The Matter of Suggs  involves just this type of situation. When the decedent and his spouse divorced, the court made provisions concerning the disposition… Continue Reading

Handwritten Note Fails To Revoke Will–Just Another Example Of It’s Never A Good Idea To Write On A Will

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION, Uncategorized
Oneida County Surrogate Louis Vigliotti’s decision in the Estate of Patricia Powers    is one more example of what happens when you write on a will —-generally nothing. Here it appears that the testator wrote a note on the face of the Will that she was revoking it and writing a new will (which she… Continue Reading

Digital Life After Death, A Question For The Future

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
Your lawblogger recently attended a seminar given by Evan Carroll, the author of  “Your Digital Afterlife”,  a book speaking to the growing issues that have arisen as our activities on line have continued to branch out and multiply. You may not have considered the nature and volume of your pictures stored on Facebook or your… Continue Reading

Not Everybody Needs A Trust

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
Every Spring, when the snowbirds have returned to New York, your lawblogger gets a rash of inquiries about trusts. Some folks are absolutely insistent but don’t really have a good explanation for this. I usually ask at this point which Florida clubhouse ran the program where they suddenly realized they must have a trust. An… Continue Reading

Do Not Try This At Home –The Do It Yourself Will

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
The Do It Yourself  legal industry is flourishing with claims that you do not need a lawyer to get your affairs in order with a low-cost DIY will. Just input your credit card information, download the easy to use form, fill in the blank spaces and seal it in an envelope in anticipation of Judgment… Continue Reading

Sometimes A Trust Works Best

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
One of the major features of the Surrogate’s Court is that it is a court of public record. Unfortunately, that can be one of its major drawbacks. Every document filed in every estate is available to anyone. If your grandfather (great grandfather) passed away here in the twenties, his Will together with lots of information… Continue Reading

Keep The Peace In The Family Or Your Heirs Will Reap The Whirlwind

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
In her last public interview in 1994, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis stated that her most important accomplishment in life was to insure that her children loved each other. Your lawblogger has taken her words to heart over the years. As a litigator practicing in the field of contested matrimonials and contested estates, I can definitively state… Continue Reading

Be Careful With Mom’s Power Of Attorney

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
A power of attorney is a powerful document posing some danger to the holder. It is common to receive a power of attorney from an aging parent or relative in order to help them handle their personal affairs. In effect, it allows the holder to stand in the shoes of the giver and act as… Continue Reading

When You Get A Waiver In The Mail

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
In order to commence estate proceedings, it is first necessary that all persons essential to the estate receive notice. This would include any person named in the will or anyone who would have standing to object to the will. If there is no will, it would include all distributees — next of kin who would… Continue Reading

A Primer On The Residuary Clause

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
Every will drafted by an attorney is almost certain to have a residuary clause. This is an essential catch-all provision inserted to make sure that assets go where they are supposed to go. Here is an article by Dennis Fordham in the Lake County (California) News which provides useful information on  this important provision of… Continue Reading

Times Features Comprehensive Article on Trusts

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
The New York Times has published a rather comprehensive, if brief, overview of trusts. For those of you who find all of the acronyms we use to describe various trusts, this may prove to be very helpful. your  lawblogger would add a little postscript to this article with regard to the issue of whether of… Continue Reading

Appellate Court Vacates Default In Surrogate Matter

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
Today, the Second Department of the Appellate Division vacated a default in theMatter of  Skolnick, (2013 NY  Slip Op 05364) reversing the decision of the Surrogate’s Court of Rockland County. In this action, the objectant Stacy Ross had unsuccessfully attempted to vacate a default in the lower court after the Petitioner had failed to serve her… Continue Reading

Court Rules Against Operation Of In Terrorem Clause

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
Nassau County Surrogate Edward W. McCarty III has ruled in the Matter of The Estate of Walsh   (2013 NY Slip Op 51060(U)) that an in terrorem clause in the decedent’s Will was not violated when a beneficiary of the estate  opposed the executor’s turnover petition seeking to recover the proceeds of a joint account which was in… Continue Reading

Choosing Your Trustees–Don’t Take Yes For An Answer

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
If you have minor children, your legal affairs are not in order without a Will with a minor’s trust. Your lawblogger’s first boss used to say that the cost of the sports car your child purchases at eighteen is directly proportional to the amount of his or her inheritance. Some lawyers –including yours truly– will… Continue Reading

What’s Happening With Mom’s Estate???

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
Your lawblogger gets calls on a regular basis from folks wondering what is happening with a parent’s estate. Most are concerned that a relative whom they do not trust is doing something improper behind their back. The safeguards against this in New York are just about foolproof.… Continue Reading

Growing Strategy To Stagger Receipt Of Legacies

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
One of my first bosses used to say the price of the sports car your child purchases is directly proportional to the size of his inheritance when he turns eighteen. This tried and true axiom has occurred to more and more parents and they are dealing with the situation in greater numbers. An article by… Continue Reading

Charitable Lead Trusts May Have Important Consequences

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
Conrad Teitell’s Philanthropy Tax E-Letter highlights some interesting and important points about charitable lead trusts. The trusts are used as a vehicle by high net worth individuals to provide benefits to charities of their choice while still passing the property to their heirs with little or no gift tax. Problems may arise if the donor’s involvement… Continue Reading

Afterborn Child Causes Confusion In Delaware Estate

Posted in LEGAL INFORMATION
The estate of boxing promoter Ronald "Butch" Lewis has raised a number of issues that a local law school professor has called "a great final exam question". As reported in Delaware Online, claims for child support must be filed against an estate within eight months of a person’s death. Lewis’ child, however, was not born until nine months… Continue Reading