I Need to Settle an Estate in New York. Now what?
Author: Law Offices of Bonnie Lawston
If you are named executor or administrator of an estate in New York, where you live does not matter. All you need to do is hire an experienced attorney who is licensed to practice in New York to help you settle the estate.
The many channels of communication available today allow your attorney not only to send documents via regular mail, but also to expedite paperwork through faxing, scanning and emailing estate documents. You will find that carrying out your fiduciary responsibilities may be easier than you imagined, whether you are in another state or in another country.
Attorneys who handle wills, trusts and estate administration have a reliable network of contacts, from appraisers, auctioneers and house cleaners to contractors and real estate agents, who can assist in preparing real property and other assets for sale. Once the sale of estate property is finalized, your attorney will settle debts and arrange distribution to beneficiaries.
For many people, acting as an executor of an estate is often a new experience. A common question is, “Will I have out of pocket expenses to settle an estate?” Most law firms that handle probate, estate and trust administration offer a variety of retainer options for legal services. In addition to an hourly rate retainer arrangement, if you and the estate meet certain criteria, your attorney may agree to payment for legal services upon the sale of the home, the collection of assets or closure of the estate, prior to distribution of the inheritance.
If a loved one passed away in New York State or had assets in New York, call the Long Island Law Offices of Bonnie Lawston (631) 425-7299. Visit our website
Repost: Original post April 2011
If you are an executor of an estate or an administrator of a trust, you are considered a fiduciary. In either position you are required by law to ethically fulfill your fiduciary duties which are:
- Impartiality—not favoring one party over the other.
- Undivided loyalty—not conflicting your own interests with the interests of the parties of the trust, will or estate.
- To administer the trust, will or estate faithfully with care and good sense.
If you fail to carry out your fiduciary duties properly you could find yourself facing a lawsuit over breach of fiduciary duty.
You can be held personally liable for breach of fiduciary duty
Being an executor or administrator of a trust, will, or estate is a serious responsibility and failures to ethically carry out your duties can land you in hot water. In the event of a breach you can be held personally liable to the damaged party and possibly charged criminally. So it is vital to keep thorough records and document all income and expenses relative to the estate.
Actions that could get you in trouble as a fiduciary include:
- Investing estate funds in a venture in which you have a financial interest
- Commingling your funds with the funds of the estate
- Conflicts of interest
- Making risky investments
- Arbitrary decisions about distributions to beneficiaries or payments to creditors
Talk to an estate attorney about your fiduciary duties today
Properly navigating the duties of a fiduciary can be complex and confusing and often requires the help of an experienced Long Island estate attorney. The Law Offices of Bonnie Lawston has successfully helped clients with breach of fiduciary claims such as:
mismanagement or misappropriation of assets
failure to account, fraud, conflicts of interest
failure to distribute assets
improper distribution of assets, and other claims.
If you have questions about how to fulfill your fiduciary duties contact our office online or call (877) 581-8498 today.
Previously posted in 2014
At the Law Offices of Bonnie Lawston, P.C., the health and safety of our staff, colleagues and clients is our top priority.
You rely on us for your personal and professional needs, and we remain ready to help you in this difficult time as we face many challenges and uncertainties.
As such, we are taking a number of steps to minimize health risks during this health crises.
Our law firm will be adhering to the guidelines presented by the Centers for Disease Control and our local health officials, and we continue to monitor them for updates as they are released in real time. Accordingly, we have implemented a plan to protect the safety of our work environment while allowing us to continue to service all of our clients.
Our attorneys and staff are taking precautions with respect to non-essential meetings and face-to-face interactions. That includes telephone consultations and video conference calls whenever possible. When a face to face meeting is necessary, such as to execute a Will, a Trust, or even your Health Care Proxy, we will provide a clean and spacious environment to do so. With respect to our real estate practice, we will endeavor to utilize Powers of Attorney and even Escrow Closings in order to close title when the transaction permits us to do so.
Please, do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns regarding your current estate plan or if you want to get started right away. As always, our lawyers and staff are committed to handling our clients’ matters with the utmost care and respect, and we will remain vigilant as we strive to overcome these challenges. We are here for you and hope that you and your family remain safe and healthy.
YOU CAN STILL CALL AND CONTACT US TO RETAIN US FOR ALL YOUR ESTATE ADMINISTRATION, PROBATE AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION NEEDS, FILINGS, LITIGATION, REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS. WE HAVE BEEN DOING THIS WORK REMOTELY WITH CLIENTS FOR YEARS. WE HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE TO HELP YOU FROM YOUR HOME AND GET THIS DONE. NO LEGAL FEE DUE UPFRONT.
631-425-7299 ANY DAY, ANYTIME. JUST CALL OR EMAIL US.
Take a breathe first. After you have gathered your thoughts, make an appointment and consult with an Probate Estate Administration attorney. Many offer a free consultation and can provide valuable information. The steps that you take initially are very important and if given the proper guidance can save you time and money. Many of people I speak with make most of their mistakes with estate administration in the beginning and prior to seeing an estate probate attorney. I always tell my clients, please call me, any time, if you are about to make a decision that affects the estate, your fiduciary responsibilities or even the estate assets. I can provide you the right legal advice to avoid the common mistakes that can be costly before they happen and avoid same.
My legal practice focuses on probate, estate administration and trust administration. any of my clients reside outside of New York, in Florida, California and other parts of the country but are serving as a fiduciary or an heir to a New York Estate matter. If you are an executor, administrator or trustee for someone who died in another state but the decedent owned real property in New York, we can assist you with that ancillary proceeding. There is no need to be stressed out over the estate administration process. We provide the legal assistance that is needed at a low cost. If you have no money to retain an attorney, we offer many types of retainers where the legal fees are deferred.
WHAT ARE YOUR INHERITANCE RIGHTS?
A FAMILY MEMBER PASSED AWAY AND YOU WERE IN THE WILL, WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
If you believe your family member’s will is not being properly executed, a lawyer can review and advise you of your rights. Whether you live locally or out-of-state, a probate attorney can answer your questions. You can relax on your sofa or spend time with family, and we will take care legal matters, preparing documents for probate court and working to protect your interests.
Located on Long Island, The Law Office of Bonnie Lawston. PC has assisted countless clients from all over the country with the challenges of probate and estate administration with New York Estates. In cases where your loved one lived elsewhere but had real estate in New York, we can assist you with the administration of the New York assets.
HOW DO YOU KNOW THE EXECUTOR WILL PAY YOU WHAT WAS STATED IN THE WILL?
Beneficiaries receive what remains after the estate has been inventoried, creditors have been paid and tax returns have been filed with payment of applicable taxes. A lawyer reviews the estate legal documents, closing documents, bank records, demand and review a judicial accounting and other discover documents to ensure you receive your inheritance and that the executor provides a proper accounting and complies with the applicable laws as it relates to the administration of the Estate.
In instances where you do not receive the proper distribution, your attorney can fight for your inheritance and seek to hold the fiduciary of the estate accountable for his or her actions. In many instances, communication from a lawyer resolves the issue, and if not, taking legal action may be necessary to protect your interests.
Remember that the attorney for the estate’s representative does not represent you but represents the fiduciary of the Estate. Thus, if the fiduciary has done something improper or not done something, the estate’s attorney is not going to tell you. You need your own attorney to protect your interests as opposed to the Estate.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR INHERITANCE RIGHTS ARE AFTER THE DEATH OF YOUR SPOUSE?
IF YOUR SPOUSE DIED AND LEFT YOU OUT OF THE WILL, WOULD YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO?
Under New York law, whether your spouse included you in the will or not, you are entitled to either $50,000 plus one half of the value of the estate or $50,000 plus one third depending on whether you have children. The exception would be if you waived your rights in a prenuptial agreement or other document.
If your spouse eliminates you from the Will, you must file a claim within the statutory amount of time to preserve your rights. Our probate and estate attorney can assist you with protecting your inheritance rights.
WHAT ADVANTAGES DOES A PROBATE LAWYER OFFER?
Delving into the law and understanding the statutes that apply to probate are daunting for most people. It takes years of study and experience to acquire the legal knowledge a lawyer has attained. Lawyers can help you take advantage of tax laws to maximize the inheritance. In addition, various retainers are available and some allow legal fee payment through the estate, rather than direct payment.
Many times, an estate has a lot of real property and very little cash, or the family can not access the cash making it difficult to retain an attorney. The Law Office of Bonnie Lawston, PC understands this very well and will offer retainers that require no money up front for legal fees. Most clients qualify for this retainer. Free consultations are offered and can help evaluate your case immediately making for a quicker resolution saving you time and money.
Furthermore, when a loved one dies, loss, grief and other emotions often make dealing with legal matters difficult. It can be helpful to have guidance from an objective professional outside of the family.