Our Estate Planning Frequently Asked Questions

Our legal team offers answers and information to help your family learn more about your rights and what to expect from a New York estate plan. Learn about how to protect your loved ones and preserve your assets most effectively. Don’t see your concern here? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Manhattan office by calling us at 212-203-0937.

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  • What Does "Intestate" Mean In Regards To New York Estate Law?

    Definition of INTESTATE
    (adjective): a person who dies without leaving a valid will; where it is used with respect to particular property, a person who dies without effectively disposing of that property by will; when used as an adjective, to property not effectively disposed of by will (SCPA § 103 [28])

    Plain English Translation: a person who dies without leaving a valid last will; or property that is not controlled by a last will.

    Example: Bob recently passed away. His family discovered that he never made a will. Bob died intestate. 

    Do You Need The Help Of An Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney In The New York Metro Area?

    If you need legal help with an estate issue you should speak with an experienced estate litigation attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our New York City office directly at 212.227.2424 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Westchester County and throughout New York as well as northern New Jersey.

  • What Is An "Individual Trustee" In Regards To New York Estate Law?

    Definition of INDIVIDUAL TRUSTEE
    (noun): any trustee who is not a corporate trustee. (SCPA 103 [26-a])

    Plain English translation: a person, as opposed to a corporation, who serves as trustee or representative of a trust.

    Example: George is an individual trustee for the “Paul McCartney Family Trust”. He serves with corporate trustee, Chase Bank. 

    Do You Need The Help Of An Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney In The New York Metro Area?

    If you need legal help with an estate issue you should speak with an experienced estate litigation attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our New York City office directly at 212.227.2424 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Westchester County and throughout New York as well as northern New Jersey.

  • What Is An "Incapacitated Person" In Regards To New York Estate Law?

    Definition of INCAPACITATED PERSON
    (noun): any person who for any cause is incapable adequately to protect his or her rights, including a person for whom a guardian has been appointed pursuant to Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law (SCPA § 103 [25])
     
    Plain English translation: a person who lacks the ability to protect himself
     
    Reasons why an individual may be found incapable of adequately looking after his rights include:
     
    1. Advanced age;
    2. Illness;
    3. Infirmity;
    4. Mental weakness;
    5. Alcohol abuse;
    6. Addiction to drugs; or
    7. Any other cause.
     
    Example: Charles suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s disease and cannot protect his rights. Since he is incapacitated, he needs someone else to represent his legal interests.

    Do You Need The Help Of An Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney In The New York Metro Area?

    If you need legal help with an estate issue you should speak with an experienced estate litigation attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our New York City office directly at 212.227.2424 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Westchester County and throughout New York as well as northern New Jersey.

  • What Is A "Guardian" In Regards To New York Estate Law?

    Definition of a GUARDIAN:
    (noun): a person to whom letters of guardianship have been issued by a New York court pursuant to the SCPA, the Family Court Act or Mental Hygiene Law Article 81; this includes a guardian of an infant’s person and/or property appointed under SCPA Article 17 and a guardian for mentally retarded or developmentally disabled person for whom a guardian has been appointed pursuant to SCPA Article 17-A (SCPA § 103 [24])

    Plain English translation: a person appointed by a court to be responsible for another individual and/or the property of that individual

    Examples: Bob is developmentally disabled. So even though he’s over the age of 18, he needs someone to make decisions for him. Therefore, the court appointed his mother to serve as his guardian. Carrie is 12 years old, so she is too young to protect her legal interests in court. Therefore, her father was appointed as guardian of her property so he could protect her interests.

    Do You Need The Help Of An Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney In The New York Metro Area?

    If you need legal help with an estate issue you should speak with an experienced estate litigation attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our New York City office directly at 212.227.2424 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Westchester County and throughout New York as well as northern New Jersey.

  • What is a “Domicilliary” in New York Estate Law?

    Definition of DOMICILLIARY: (noun) / a person whose domicile is within the state of New York (Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 103 [16])

    Plain English translation: A domiciliary is a person whose primary residence is within New York State.

    If you have one home, and it’s in New York, then the answer is easy—your domicile is New York. Determining domicile for those with multiple homes could be a bit more difficult, but generally, your domicile is your primary residence.

    Example: Jill is a New York domiciliary. She lives in Brooklyn with her family and goes to her Miami summer house for about two weeks every year. Even though Miami is like a second home, Jill is considered a domiciliary of New York.

    Your domicile is important in several ways. One of those ways, as it relates to estate law, is whether New York courts have jurisdiction over your estate. If you pass away domiciled in New York, then New York has jurisdiction over your estate. If you die as a domiciliary of Florida, then Florida has jurisdiction. There are other ways New York can have jurisdiction over one’s estate, but domicile is the primary factor.

    Do You Need The Help Of An Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney In The New York Metro Area?

    If you need legal help with an estate issue you should speak with an experienced estate litigation attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our New York City office directly at 212.227.2424 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Westchester County and throughout New York as well as northern New Jersey.

  • What is a "Lifetime Trust?"

    Definition of LIFETIME TRUST: (noun) / a trust not created by a will

    Plain English translation: A lifetime trust is a trust created during a person’s lifetime as opposed to a trust created through the person’s will, which is referred to as a testamentary trust.

    A lifetime trust directs the distribution of property during both the grantor’s lifetime and after death. Any person who is over the age of eighteen years old may create a lifetime trust. Additionally, in New York, a lifetime trust is deemed irrevocable unless it expressly provides that it is revocable.
     

    Do You Need The Help Of An Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney In The New York Metro Area?

    If you need legal help with an estate issue you should speak with an experienced estate litigation attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our New York City office directly at 212.227.2424 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Westchester County and throughout New York as well as northern New Jersey.

  • What Is "Domicile" In New York Estate Law?

    Definition of Domicile: (noun) / a fixed, permanent residence and principal home to which a person wherever temporarily located always intends to return

    Plain English translation: One’s domicile is one’s primary residence.

    Under New York estate law, you can have multiple residences (a home, country home, ski house, beach house), but you can only have one domicile.
     
    Your domicile is important in several ways. One of those ways, as it relates to estate law, is whether New York courts have jurisdiction over your estate. If you pass away domiciled in New York, then New York has jurisdiction over your estate. If you die as a domiciliary of Florida, then Florida has jurisdiction. There are other ways New York can have jurisdiction over one’s estate, but domicile is the primary factor.

    Do You Need The Help Of An Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney In The New York Metro Area?

    If you need legal help with an estate issue you should speak with an experienced estate litigation attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our New York City office directly at 212.227.2424 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Westchester County and throughout New York as well as northern New Jersey.

  • What is a “Disposition” in New York Estate Law?

    Definition of DISPOSITION: (noun) / a transfer of property by a person during life or by will.

    Plain English translation: A transfer of ownership of property. The transfer can occur during one’s lifetime or through a will or trust where the transfer occurs upon death (also known as a testamentary disposition).

    Examples:

    “She disposed of her property through her last will, which contained three dispositions. The house was given to her son. The bank account was given to her granddaughter. And the rest was given to her husband.”

    “The trust contained a disposition to Anthony of $100,000.00.”

    Do You Need The Help Of An Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney In The New York Metro Area?

    If you need legal help with an estate issue you should speak with an experienced estate litigation attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our New York City office directly at 212.227.2424 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout New York and northern New Jersey including Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, The Bronx, Nassau County and Westchester County.

  • What is a "Person" in New York Estate Law?

    Definition of PERSON: (noun) / a natural person, an association, board, any corporation, court, governmental agency, authority or subdivision, partnership or other firm and the state.

    Plain English translation: For the most part, a person is simply a person. No need for translation, but as you can see from the legal definition, the word could refer to a number types of entities.

    Do You Need The Help Of An Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney In The New York Metro Area?

    If you need legal help with an estate issue you should speak with an experienced estate litigation attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our New York City office directly at 212.227.2424 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout New York and northern New Jersey including Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, The Bronx, Nassau County and Westchester County.

  • What is a "will" in New York estate law?

    Definition of WILL:

    (noun) / a last will, including all the codicils thereto

    This is the definition set forth by the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law as well as the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act. But what is a will, really?

    Plain English translation: A last will is a legal document that provides a person’s last wishes with respect to property and dependents upon that person’s death. It is a set of instructions for disposing of a person’s property, nominating an executor to oversee the transfer of that property, and nominating someone to take custody of minor children.

    Do You Need Legal Help Regarding Probate  Or Estate Litigation In The New York Metro Area?

    If a loved one died without a will and you need legal assistance regarding the probate process, or you find yourself involved in estate litigation you should be speak with an experienced probate attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our New York City office directly at 212.227.2424 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout New York and northern New Jersey including Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, The Bronx, Nassau County and Westchester County.