I understand that settling an estate can be anything but simple. My Estate Administration Services are designed to ensure the efficient processing of an estate with special attention paid to working closely with clients.
Estate settlement is comprised of different aspects. In its simplest form, there are three (3) basic functions to be performed by a fiduciary such as an Executor and Administrator. These functions are: (i) collecting or marshaling estate assets, (ii) paying debts, expenses and taxes; and (iii) making a distribution of the net estate to the proper beneficiaries. While these functions may appear rather routine, each can be quite difficult. For example, closing a decedent's bank account and depositing the funds into an Estate Bank Account may not be complicated. However, problems may arise where the decedent's account was improperly closed prior to death by someone who had access to the account with a Power of Attorney. It is the duty of the Executor or Administrator to attempt to obtain these funds from the wrongdoer for the benefit of the decedent's estate. The Surrogate's Court Procedure Act contains provisions allowing for Turn Over Proceedings that can be use by a fiduciary to obtain assets that rightfully belong to a decedent.
Another situation that may present complications may involve a debt that someone claims the decedent owes but the claim is not verifiable. The estate fiduciary would need to oppose the claim to protect the estate's interests. This could result in Estate Litigation.
Making distributions of estate assets to beneficiaries may be complicated when the beneficiaries do not agree as to the amounts they are to receive. Beneficiaries may dispute the actions taken by the estate fiduciary and claim that the fiduciary did not perform his duties in a proper manner. Such claims or objections are typically presented in an Estate Accounting Proceeding in which the fiduciary will present a full financial accounting of all transactions that took place during the course of the Estate Administration. The beneficiaries will have a right to review all of the transactions as well as all of the bank statements and other papers used to prepare the Accounting. The services of a qualified Estate Fiduciary Accountant and New York Estate Lawyer are helpful to all of the parties in these Accounting Proceedings which take place in the New York Surrogate's Courts.
Another issue that may arise in an accounting proceeding concerns determining the decedent's next of kin. The Court may require that a Kinship Hearing be held. This is typically the procedure needed in cousin cases or where the decedent's closest distributees appear to be cousins or more distant relatives.
I have represented many clients in New York Surrogate's Court proceedings involving the probate of wills or intestate administration. My Estate Administration Services have been utilized by many executors and administrators whom I have helped with collecting estate assets, paying debts, expenses and taxes, preparing estate tax returns, preparing accountings and distributing estate assets to beneficiaries. I have helped clients for over 30 years with Estate Administration Services throughout New York City (Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Manhattan) and also Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties.
I opened my law practice in 1985 and provide my clients with personal and attentive service.
For a free case evaluation you can contact me by telephone (212) 355-2575, fax (212) 751-5911 or e-mail