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Manhattan Estate Litigation

Lawyer for Manhattan Will and Trust Contests

Manhattan is one of five boroughs in New York City. Although it’s only 23 square miles, it has an estimated population of 1.63 million people, making it the most densely inhabited of the five boroughs in New York. Home to Broadway, Wall Street, Central Park, the Empire State Building, and many other worldwide attractions, Manhattan attracts many tourists as well as lifelong residents. If your loved one dies in Manhattan and you disagree with how his estate is administered or with some aspect of the probate process, you may become involved in estate litigation. Estate litigation can include a variety of lawsuits including probate litigation, kinship hearings, will contests, challenges to the validity of trusts, disagreements about how a will should be interpreted, estate administration, accounting disputes, requests to remove a trustee or fiduciary, and other controversies regarding an estate. Manhattan estate litigation attorney Jules Haas can assist parties with disputes of this nature. He represents fiduciaries, spouses, next of kin, executors, estate representatives, and others.

Manhattan Estate Litigation

Estate litigation can include will contests in which the validity of a will is disputed. Some common grounds to challenge wills include undue influence upon the testator, improper execution, forgery, or incompetence of the testator when making the will. When there’s ambiguity in the will, will construction proceedings may be appropriate. Similarly, trust litigation may be appropriate to challenge a trust’s construction, the validity of the trust, or a trustee’s actions.

Estate litigation can involve accounting proceedings. These are proceedings to defend or challenge accounting procedures in the management of a trust or estate, or to deal with tax or investment issues. Where there is misconduct, incompetence, or breach of fiduciary duty in the administration of a trust or estate, fiduciary removal proceedings may be brought to remove an executor, trustee, conservator, or guardian. Kinship proceedings may be appropriate to look into the inheritance rights of people who claim to be relatives. An estate litigation lawyer serving Manhattan can assist with these proceedings.

Probate Litigation

Probate occurs when a decedent’s last will and testament goes through proceedings in Surrogate’s Court. The decedent’s estate will be disposed of according to a decedent’s will. The probate process may be contested through litigation where those who have an interest in the disposal of a decedent’s estate believe their rights were trampled upon. The testamentary document itself can be challenged for a variety of reasons. For example, where a child is disinherited in favor of a caregiver, the child may bring a will contest for undue influence. Sometimes a fiduciary’s performance is questioned through probate litigation.

Estate Administration

The Surrogate’s Court has jurisdiction over estate administration in New York. Estate administration is the process whereby a decedent’s estate is disposed of when the decedent has not left a valid last will and testament. A decedent’s estate is the legal entity that exists to hold rights, assets, or obligations of the decedent. One or more people can be appointed by the court to act on the estate’s behalf. A decedent’s assets may not pass to the estate in their entirety and there is a distinction between the estate and the taxable estate.


Often an estate or trust is complex, and administration of it demands understanding how to invest and manage various kinds of assets. Administration also requires a trustee or executor to understand the goals of the person who established the trust or whose estate is involved. Sometimes beneficiaries of an estate or trust notice they are experiencing losses that seem to arise from mismanagement of the estate or trust, and they want to hold the executor or trustee accountable. The executor or trustee is supposed to keep an account of all the assets, income, investment gains, investment losses, expenses, and distributions that have been made, and an accounting should be provided to a beneficiary who asks for it. Where a beneficiary thinks the account is wrong or the losses are based on mismanagement, he or she may take action. Objections to the account can be filed. The executor or trustee can be charged for losses and may be required to repay the estate. A seasoned Manhattan estate litigation attorney can advise you as to whether you have a valid claim of this nature.

Kinship Asset Discovery

If somebody dies intestate and is survived by a distant relative such as a cousin, the survivor has the burden of establishing kinship with the decedent in a kinship proceeding. Often a survivor must also show there are no other surviving heirs with a greater right to inherit the decedent’s assets. The survivor will need to prove: they had a relationship to the decedent, there’s nobody with a closer degree of consanguinity, and how many people have the same degree of consanguinity to the decedent. A survivor’s relationship to the decedent can be met by offering certified records and witness testimony. Next of kin need to produce birth certificates for all the decedent’s relatives on the same side of lineage and death certificates for deceased family members on the same side of lineage. Cousin cases are very common.

Consult a Trustworthy Estate Litigation Attorney in Manhattan

Jules Haas has worked hard for more than thirty-five years representing clients in and around Manhattan in estate planning, litigation, and related matters. Whether you want to bring a will contest or you need representation for an accounting based on a fiduciary’s mismanagement of an estate, call Jules Haas at (212) 355-2575 or contact us through our online form. We provide reasonable and flexible fee arrangements and represent clients throughout the U.S. in New York cases. Call for a free review.

Client Reviews
I am very grateful to Mr. Jules Martin Haas attorney of law in New York. I am from Buenos Aires Argentina. He managed with expertise a very difficult situation. of a complicate heritage from my aunt Anna Grodzka that lived and died a very long time ago in New York. I recommend him not only for his extraordinary knowledge but also for his kindness. Irma CW Peusner
I found Mr. Haas after being misguided by a former attorney. Mr. Jules Haas took our case which involved an estate/trust dispute. What initially seemed like an impossible and overwhelming legal fight was now in the hands of someone who had the integrity and legal expertise to win our case. Mr Haas' attention to detail and his expert knowledge base, skillfully and successfully guided us through an intricate legal process. I am very thankful and grateful to Mr. Jules Haas for representing our interest and ultimately winning. Bringing about a peace of mind we needed. Thank You Devida Nedd
I was in need of a guardianship attorney and I hired the services of Jules M. Haas' Law firm. The service of counselor Haas and his staff, was very profesional and the case was handled in a timely matter. I would strongly recommend his services Angel Guevara
I strongly recommend Jules Haas. I have worked with him for two years and he has provided so much support and followed through with everything he promised he would do. His support staff is just as helpful! We had an interesting case and he helped to solve each part of it legally and was very thorough. Thank you for everything you have done to finalize our families estate Robyn Stafford
Jules Haas helped me with managing the process in probate court for my father's estate through to its completion upon the sale of my father's house. He was knowledgeable, efficient, and effective in submitting documentation to the probate court, explaining procedures to me, and advising me as to the progress of my case. His support staff was also very helpful. He made what for me created so much anxiety into something manageable where I could see progress every step of the way. His fees were very reasonable. I am super grateful to him for all the help he has provided and strongly recommend his services. Diana Janer
I just completed an estate transaction where Jules Haas represented my client in an estate and he did a great job! He was very quick at responding to all matters throughout the sale process, he was detailed, he was knowledgeable and he was a pleasure to work with. I just recommended him to some new clients who are going through an estate matter and will continue to recommend him. Rodolfo Lucchese