Transcript - Martin Haas Interview
Jules: Well thank you Trevor. Thank you for having me on the show and good morning to you as well.
M: Well, you see, the reason I’m excited about this is because for a very long time we have been looking for an attorney with the discipline that you have where you deal with trust and estates. And I know in my community, which is a very big community-there’s over 4 million people there that recognizes as Caribbeans here in the metro New York area. But there’s another element to you know, not having that knowledge and that is most people, they-the only time they really, you know, try to figure out something is when it happens. And in your case there is so much to talk about that we have to get right in to it. You know when I was writing your copy, I was writing if somebody should ask you to should see a trust and estate attorney-
M: Or, you know, what is that? [laughter]. You know what I mean? Some people still go what is that and it’s so important in everybody’s life. And I just want to you know, talk to the audience and give them an idea of what I think it is and then you being the expert, you know, you tell me basically some of the scenarios that can happen in life where you would need a trust and estate attorney.
M: I know that if you die without a will, it is chaos. [laughter]. Because especially if you have property. If somebody dies and they have a lot of property and they have a lot of investments and all that and they did not get a will, what will happen now? You have to go to what? Do you have to go to surrogate court? Is that what it is?
J: Well. What happens when the person dies without a will is that all of the assets that they own that are in their name alone are going to be distributed according to the laws of the state of New York. When a person dies and the assets that they have have to be distributed in some way, first thing you have to look at is the nature of the makeup of assets. And this is important when you do an estate plan, it’s an important aspect to understand in settling an estate. So, if you own property, and this is you know, when I give lectures and I speak to folks, this is probably the area that people are most interested in and they find to be the most informative. When a person passes away and they own assets that are let’s say, jointly owned. Well, that type of an asset is automatically going to go to the joint owner, assuming the joint owner is alive. And if they have an asset that’s let’s say like a life insurance policy or a retirement fund where there’s a designated beneficiary, that asset is also going to go to the main beneficiary. But if they have assets that are in their name alone, such as real estate or a bank account or any type of brokerage account or whatever it may be. If you don’t have a will, those assets are going to pass to the persons that are decided by New York law. And basically that’s going to be your next of kin. And the problem with that is that a person’s intentions may be that whoever their next of kin are, are not the people that they want those assets to go to. For instance, a person may pass away and their next of kin may be a brother or a sister or a niece or nephew or whatever. But that’s not who they would want their assets to go to if they have written a will. That’s not their desire. Or it may very well be that they wouldn’t want it to go to all their brothers and sisters or they would prefer that some of it go to a friend. So when you don’t have a will, you lose that opportunity to make those determinations as to where your property is going to go.
J: That’s just one major problem that you encounter. The second major problem-and I talk about this all the time in, you know, in other shows that we have it’ll come up. When you’re sort of stuck with the law determining who your assets are going to go to, there has to be a determination as to-by the court-as to who your next of kin are. And that’s not always easy. There are many, many cases where people had distant relatives or where their next of kin are unknown because they’ve lost touch with their family, they have a very large family. A good portion of the family may be overseas in different countries. And so to prove kinship for purposes of these proceedings in court becomes extraordinarily difficult for the people who are trying to inherit from the estate.
M: Wow. And you know, in our community there’s one other scenario that is so crazy. And I think I spoke to you about it yesterday. There’s a lot of married couples who, they just separate and they go their own ways for years and years and years and then one dies. But there’s-according to the law they are still married. And the other person, whoever it is, although they’re not friendly anymore, the other person tends to get all of the inheritance. Isn’t that how it goes?
J: The answer is yes, that is how it goes. If you’re married and you separate and one of the spouse’s die. As long as you’re still married under the law, and the surviving spouse has a right to inherit the estate.
M: Wow. I know that can be a big problem.
J: Right. Now, the big issue that arises is that there’s a section of the law that says that a spouse will forfeit their right to inherit if the spouse has abandoned the other spouse. So what ends up happening-and I’ve had a number of these cases-is that the surviving spouse has separated from the spouse that died and looks to inherit. And then the rest of the family who would inherit if that spouse wouldn’t get the money, such as children and other relatives, all right, go ahead and make a claim in court that the surviving spouse had abandoned the decedent. They had been together for 20 years and whatever, and they are very strict rules as to what constitutes an abandonment. But the fact of the matter is that you get all of these fights in the surrogates court as to whether or not the surviving spouse, even though they’re married, has a right to inherit and they’re not disqualified due to an abandonment.
M: Wow. You know this is very complex stuff, you know. And by the way, every time you call me, call on this phone because your phone is so very loud and clear. But I want to do something before we go on because people-I know they are clamoring for this information but we have to give out the number. Folks I’m speaking to attorney Jules Martin Haas. H-A-A-S. He is a veteran attorney in terms of trust and estates. He’s done over 33 years he’s not a rookie at all in this matter. And he has a blog. You want to give us the address of that blog that you do every week because this is where people can really get the meat of your information. It’s so vast.
J: Sure. Well, the easiest way to get to me aside from the phone which is 212-355-2575, and I do give free consultations. If someone has a question they can call me up. The simplest thing is if you type my name in-just go to Google. You type in my name, Jules-J-U-L-E-S Haas H-A-A-S you can go right to my website. Once you’re on my website there’s loads of information about wills and trusts and estates and you know probate and all of the issues that people face and on the website you’ll see my blog. It’s called the New York Probate Lawyer blog. You can type it in and I write an article that I publish every week about an issue. Whether it’s probate, whether it’s estate planning, whether it’s guardianship, whether it’s you know some court case that the surrogates court recently decided and you know over the years I’ve gotten many calls that people enjoy reading it because it’s basically informative. It’s not advertising, it’s actual information that people can use day to day because everybody out there in the New York City area in Brooklyn and Queens and the Bronx or wherever it may be, face these issues.
J: They’re welcome to read it and you know, again, all of this is free.
M: Well let me give out the number because you know some people they go the easy way. They just go-I want to call his number. I’m going to say it about three times because that’s an old trick in the marketing and you know radio business. You have to kind of burn it in their brain [inaudible]. Folks if you want to get in touch with attorney Haas, his number is 212-355-2575. Now, if I say the number wrong please correct me sir.
J: Nope, that’s correct.
M: 212-355-2575. Get your phones out. I know some people are scrambling for their phones because they know they are having this type of problem because people are dying every day and it gets so complicated and when you finish listening to attorney Haas over the weeks you will really, really get crazy because it is so detailed. The number again: 212-355-2575. And by the way if you guys know my number I have him right here on my billboard. You can call my office anytime and I’ll give you the number. But sir, you know, there’s-I know that you noticed which is why we were looking for somebody in trust and estates. Everybody is impacted by this law. Am I right? I mean, there’s nobody who is void of this law. Everybody at some point in time is impacted by this law and I think it’s one of the areas that a lot of people are not-they’re not aware of it at all. They don’t know that it can get very complicated because you know, you went over kinship and in surrogate court that gets complicated who is the sons and who is the daughters because in some cases people have multiple kids with different mothers and they all qualify don’t they?
J: [laughter] well, you know, since it gets very complicated and determining who the next of kin are, particularly when you get down to, you know, distant relatives when you’re dealing with cousins and first cousins and who’s supposed to take. You know, and even on a more simple level, a spouse. You know I have a case right now, and you know I never talk about cases by name although if you go to my website you’ll see I have a number of decisions and cases of mine in the past. You can look at some of those. But, I have a case right now in the surrogate’s court in Brooklyn where my client is the spouse of the decedent. She is the most current spouse, he died and she filed to get her share of the estate. As it turns out there’s another woman who claims to be the spouse of the decedent who married the decedent who claims to have married the decedent years ago and they both are claiming that they have the right to the estate. And the first spouse earlier wife, saying that you know, the second spouse should be disqualified because obviously, you know, if you’re the second marriage that would be determined to be void. And then you have even more complications because the first marriage occurred in Haiti where I’m sure some of your listeners come from, and the divorce supposedly came from Haiti or occurred in Haiti and needless to say, the record keeping in that country is not always the best. And so therefore there’s this big dispute and you know, it’ll ultimately have to be decided by the judge.
M: Oh my God it gets complicated. Folks, I know a lot of you who are going through some of this or you know, who starting to think about it right now would love to know the real story as it pertains to you. Again his name is attorney Jules Martin Haas. H-A-A-S. And you can Google that like he said. And his number is 212-355-2575. 212-355-2575. And as he said, you can call for a phone consultation, which is free. And you can also check out his blog or go to his website. We ran out of time sir, but you know, this is so interesting that we double up the time this morning. And I know a lot of the audience appreciate it, I appreciate it and obviously you appreciate it. We will talk again and please call on this same phone every time you talk to me because you are like live.
J: Okay. No problem Trevor. Thank you very much, it’s a pleasure speaking to you and you have a wonderful day.
M: All right sir. You take it easy. That’s attorney Jules Martin Haas everybody. H-A-A-S. And that what is called real information. Trust and estates. Don’t run away from it, don’t hide from it, it’s going to come to you eventually. All right, talk to you guys later.
J: Okay, thank you.