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Rochester Estate Planning Law Blog

Valuable Basquiat painting at center of legal dispute

In New York, a dispute over an estate can come about for many different reasons. One of the most common is if there is an item that is of significant value and parties are in dispute over who should inherit it and whether it should be retained or sold. When a legal dispute arises over these items, it can often call into question whether there was a valid will and can cause disagreements as to what the testator wanted. To avoid this, people should have a comprehensive and well-crafted estate plan.

A disagreement centered around a painting by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat. In the case, the art collector whose late wife had purchased the painting wanted to keep his daughter from putting it up for sale. The value of the painting is estimated at $30 million. There was a will that was made not long before the woman's death that left a vast portion of her assets to that daughter, one of the couple's three children. The husband did not receive anything and challenged the will's validity.

Legal dispute over man's fortune centers around handwritten will

For New Yorkers who are concerned about a will and its validity, a court battle might be necessary to settle the matter. This is especially true when there are significant assets at stake. With property and a valuable portfolio, it is vital that there be a valid will created so it is clear who the desired heirs are. When this is not done, it can be the foundation for a contentious dispute. When in this situation, it is key for all sides to have a law firm that is experienced in all areas of estate litigation.

A New York man left a vast estate to workers in the building he lived in. The man was not married and did not have children. He handwrote his will saying that he wanted to leave his estate - valued at $4.2 million - to workers who helped care for him as he aged and became ill. The man's nephew is contesting the will. Months before the man died, he had given the superintendent of the building a note giving the apartment to the doorman. Stock and bank accounts were left to other staff members of the co-op building.

Does your estate plan cover dementia?

If you have an advance medical directive on file, you are ahead of the curve. Most Americans have not taken this step to ensure their wishes are upheld if they become incapacitated. If you have not created an advance medical directive as part of your estate plan, you should consider completing this important step. Whether you have one or not, you should take the time to ensure that your wishes are recorded regarding what to do in the event that you someday suffer from dementia.

Alzheimer's and more

What is estate administration after intestacy in New York?

Not everyone in New York takes the necessary steps to have an estate plan. There can be many reasons for this, but, regardless of why it happened, it is important for the family left behind to know how the law handles intestacy. After the person has died, there will be an estate administration proceeding. Knowing the basics of this is imperative as the family deals with the decedent's estate.

With administration, the Surrogate's Court will issue letters of administration to those who are eligible to receive the decedent's property. The assets the decedent had will determine how the proceeding moves forward. If the only assets the decedent had were real property, an administration proceeding may not be necessary. This will depend on the surviving heirs. Based on the law, the distributees - the heirs who stand to inherit the property - will automatically own it.

Dealing with out-of-state property upon your husband's death

As years go by in a marriage, it is not unusual to find married couples holding title to recreational property in another state. Perhaps it was a cabin in Vermont the family enjoyed while the kids were young. Or it might have been a condo for wintering in Tampa. But as the years went by, holding onto the property no longer seemed so important. When one spouse died, the property automatically transferred to the surviving spouse, but selling it always seemed like such a bother. Or in the case of a time share, selling it proved impossible. But holding onto it when there is no one in the family who wants it can result in a headache in probate court someday.

If you are the surviving adult child of a parent who owned property out-of-state at the time of their death, chances are you will need to have the title transferred through ancillary probate; the name given to a second probate process dealing with property held outside of the State of New York. This post, we'll explain some things about ancillary probate, including the best way to get through it and how to avoid it altogether if possible.

Updating an estate plan regularly can avoid common errors

Regardless of their net worth and assets, New Yorkers can always benefit from having a comprehensive and well-drafted estate plan. However, there are mistakes that can upend any estate plan, no matter how much forethought the testator puts into it. This is true no matter whether it is a large estate or one of more modest means. Failure to be an active participant when the estate plan is drafted often leaves the person unaware of what is in it. Finding an estate planner who will explain to the testator exactly how the document will benefit the beneficiaries is key.

The beneficiary designations are vital. The will and the beneficiary designation forms are different. Even if the will says one thing, the beneficiary designation forms detail who will get what from the estate. If the testator fails to update this accordingly, it could go to a person the testator did not want to leave it to, such as an ex-spouse. Asset ownership must also be updated. The ownership of these assets could be in many forms. These must be consistently reviewed, and the testator must make certain it is still applicable to the current circumstances.

Family and spouse in legal dispute over wealthy man's estate

One of the most complex situations in New York regarding an estate plan is when there is a legal dispute. Often, these come about because the testator changed their will to change or remove heirs. For people who are considering a will contest for any reason, having legal assistance from a law firm experienced in estate litigation is key.

A man who amassed a $54 million estate selling ceramic Christmas items is the subject of a will dispute between his spouse and his sister. The testator died in November 2017. Ten months prior to his death, he had married his real estate broker who is 43 years his junior. According to the broker, the testator walked up to him in 2014 and asked him for a date. The family, however, says that the broker specifically pursued the testator due to his estate holdings and wealth. Not long after, the men moved in together.

What An Estate Plan Can Achieve

Estate planning is about protecting your plans and your legacy. It is about safeguarding your future and putting your wishes on record. To be successful, an estate plan should do more than just account for all of your assets. The best estate plans take into account the reality of implementing them.

Strife And Stress

Executing A Will Calls For Rapid Action

Choosing an executor as part of your will is an often overlooked step. People naturally choose the oldest child or a sibling they are close to. They often fail to account for the reality of the role of executor. If you have never been in that position yourself, it is easy to underestimate its importance.

The Right Person For The Job

A common estate planning mistake is not updating beneficiaries

New Yorkers who create an estate plan are doing so with the interests of their loved ones in mind. This is an act of kindness to ensure that all the issues that need to be settled when a person dies can be done with relative simplicity. However, there are often mistakes that can come up and it is important to recognize them and take the necessary steps to avoid them. One that is frequently overlooked is the beneficiary designations.

Many people have created an estate plan at some point in their lives and simply forgotten about it. For those who have remarried, had children, had relatives who died and more, this can be a problem after they have passed on. Keeping track of life changes goes beyond keeping a scrapbook and taking videos - it includes updating an estate plan regularly. A common example that is seen by experts is a person who got divorced and remarried and did not change the beneficiary designation from the former spouse to the new spouse. In such a case, when the person dies, everything will go to the ex-wife.

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Weinstein & Randisi
290 Linden Oaks, Ste. 200
Rochester, NY 14625

Toll Free: 800-768-1780
Phone: 585-310-1578
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