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Estate Law

When Should You Contest The Inventory Of Your Intestate Share?

When a person dies intestate (without a will), statutory law determines how that person’s estate will be distributed. Essentially, the assets are divided according to who is that person’s next of kin. Once necessary funeral expenses, estate administration costs, debts, and taxes of the decedent and estate are paid (i.e. final income taxes (IRS 1040), Read on…

If I Die Without a Will, Who Will be Appointed as Administrator of My Estate?

In prior blogs, I have discussed what happens to your estate if you die “intestate”, or without a will. Now I shall discuss who will be appointed an administrator to oversee the management of your estate if you die without a will. The Surrogates Court Procedure Act, more particularly, SCPA 1001, sets forth the priority Read on…

If I Am the Executor of an Estate, Should I Have the Checkbook or Should My Lawyer?

Generally speaking, it is the responsibility of the fiduciary appointed by the Court (i.e. executor, administrator) to be in charge of the estate bank accounts. Banks and financial institutions will need to see certificates of Letters Testamentary which grant the authority to the executor to conduct estate business, including the ability to open an estate Read on…

I’m In My 30’s and Married, What Type of Estate Planning Is Appropriate?

There are various estate planning strategies that are appropriate for a person in their 30s who is recently married. The most basic of estate planning strategies is to have you and your spouse execute a Last Will and Testament. These are fundamentally the most important estate planning documents that one can have because they set Read on…

What is an in terrorem clause (disinheritance) in a last will and testament?

It is not uncommon for a family member to disinherit another in their Last Will and Testament for fears that the person may be a spendthrift or squander monies that the person signing the Will (Testator) worked their whole lifetime to amass. Another method of disinheritance occurs when a Testator seeks to disinherit a family Read on…

Dying with no will, no wife, no children or siblings in New York state: what happens?

While a New York wills attorney is normally consulted in the estate planning process, some people choose not to create a will.If you die as a resident of New York State without a will (intestate), the laws of intestacy will control how your estate will be distributed. The rules are set forth in the New Read on…

If you inherit a house or personal property in New York, do you need an estate lawyer?

Whether you inherit real or personal property in New York, it is always important to have an experienced estate attorney consult with you to properly advise as to whether you are receiving your appropriate share of an estate. At the Law Offices of Michael W. Alpert, Esq., we offer a free initial consultation to review your Read on…

How the court decides who gets the money left in savings account when a family member passes

Money remaining in a savings account may or may not come under the purview of the Surrogate’s Court in the event that an account holder dies. Say for example Person A and Person B have a joint savings account with Bank X. If Person A dies, then Person B automatically is entitled to the full Read on…

What happens if my spouse dies, has a will leaving the house to children, yet we are both titled owners of our house?

When a married couple owns a house, they ordinarily take such property as tenants by the entirety. In simple terms, they are joint tenants with rights of survivorship, meaning that if one spouse dies, the surviving spouse takes ownership of the entire property (i.e. fee interest) by this right of survivorship. This scenario is one Read on…

Can I contest a will in New York if I was the only family member not named?

If a family member wants to contest the validity of a will in New York, there are certain factors to take into account. One can contest the validity of a Last Will and Testament as to the testamentary capacity of the testator (individual signing the will) and whether certain formalities were followed to ensure valid Read on…