The Probate Process – What You Need To Know

Marie Elena Puma joined Hilary Topper on her talk show, Hilary Topper on Air.  During this show, Marie Elena discusses Frequently Asked Questions on Probate.

Here are some of the questions she addresses during the show:

  • What is Probate?
  • When is Probate required?
  • How to select an Executor?
  • What is the process to be appointed Executor?
  • What are the duties and responsibilities of an Executor?
  • How to avoid Probate?

Marie Elena shares her knowledge of the probate process and directs listeners on how to best inform themselves.  If you missed this podcast on probate, it can be replayed here.

hilary topper on air logo

In New York, an executor is entitled to commissions for the services that he or she provided on behalf of the estate. It is important to review the terms of the decedent’s Will to see if there are any provisions regarding how the executor should be compensated. If there are no provisions regarding the executor’s compensation in the Will, then the executor will be compensated in accordance with New York’s Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) § 2307.

More Than One Executor

Some people like to nominate more than one executor to administer their estate. When there are multiple executors nominated in a Will and the Will is silent on how the executors should be compensated, we need to look at SCPA.

SCPA

Pursuant to SCPA § 2307(5), the gross value of the estate determines the amount each executor is entitled to receive when there are multiple executors appointed, subject to SCPA § 2313. For example:

  1. If the gross value of the estate is less than $100,000, then the commissions allowed to one executor are to be apportioned to each executor according to the services rendered by them respectively.
  2. If the gross value of the estate is at least $100,000 but less than $300,000, then each executor is entitled to receive a full commission. However, if there are more than two executors appointed to administer the estate, then the commissions allowed to two executors are to be apportioned among each executor according to the services rendered by them respectively.
  3. If the gross value of the estate is $300,000.00 or more, each executor is entitled to the full compensation on principal and income allowed to a sole executor unless there are over three executors. However, if there are more than three executors, the compensation to which three executors would be entitled is to be apportioned among all the executors according to the services rendered by them respectively.

However, pursuant to SCPA § 2313, if a person dies after August 31, 1993 and nominates more than two executors in his or her Will, no more than two commissions shall be allowed unless the decedent specifically provided otherwise in his or her Will.

All of this can be complicated, but with the guidance of an experienced attorney, you can rest at ease knowing the executor(s) of your Will will be compensated accordingly.

Family Comes First Season Twelve!

Brand New Episodes of Family Comes First!

Vincent J. Russo and Victoria Roberts Drogin are proud to announce the premiere of the Twelfth Season of their three-time Telly Award-winning show, Family Comes First.

Join us for the next episode “Up Close & Personal with Victoria Roberts Drogin” on Monday, November 18th, 2019 at 9:30 am.

Family Comes First™ episodes will also run on Mondays at 10:30 pm, Wednesdays at 1:30 pm and Fridays at 1:30 pm.

Family Comes First™ airs exclusively on Catholic Faith Network (formally, Telecare TV) – Cablevision Channels 29 and 137, Time Warner channels 106 (Manhattan), 471 (Queens) or Verizon FiOS TV Channel 296.

For more information and resources on Family Comes First™, please follow us on Facebook or visit our Family Comes First™ website at www.vjrussolaw.com/familycomesfirst.


 Family Comes First 
Airs Exclusively on Catholic Faith Network
Cablevision: Ch. 29 & 137
Verizon Fios: Ch. 296
Charter Spectrum: Ch. 162/471
Live streaming at www.CFNtv.org
Episodes air:
Mondays at 9:30 AM & 10:30 PM
Wednesdays at 1:30 PM
Fridays at 1:30 PM
Copyright © 2019
All Rights Reserved.

 

Today, many assets exist only in an electronic form. These digital assets can result in more complexity when settling a loved one’s estate.

The Role of An Executor or Administrator

The ordinary role of an executor or administrator is to collect the assets of the Decedent and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries of the Decedent’s Estate. This is often done by going through the decedent’s files and mail to uncover the assets he or she possessed. However, due to many assets existing in only electronic form, the estate representative may have a harder job. Not only does he or she need to uncover the asset, but he or she may need to obtain the password to access it. Many internet companies have strict privacy policies, so accessing the digital asset is often difficult.

New York Digital Assets

In New York, Article 13-A of the Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law (EPTL) governs the administration of digital assets. Pursuant to EPTL 13-A-1[i], a digital asset is an “electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest. The term does not include an underlying asset unless it is itself an electronic record”.

Pursuant to EPTL13-a-1(e), the content of electronic communication means the information was:

  1. Sent or received by the user;
  2. In electronic storage by a custodian that provides an electronic communication service to the public or is carried or maintained by a custodian providing a remote-computing service to the public; and
  3. Not readily accessible to the public.

With regard to non-content digital assets, such as a contact list or calendar information, EPTL 13-A-3.2 governs. Pursuant to EPTL 13-A-3.2, the estate representative can access the non-content digital assets if the estate representative provides the custodian with certain documentation, unless the user prohibited disclosure of such assets or a court directs otherwise.

Online Tools

Some custodians offer an online tool that permits a user to provide direction to the custodian regarding the disclosure of his or her digital assets. However, this online tool is not offered by all custodians and sometimes the user does not avail himself or herself of such an online tool. If that is the case, then the custodian may look to the decedent’s Will, Trust, or other agreement before disclosing any information to the estate’s representative.

A Case Study

In Matter of Coleman, a twenty-four (24) year old man passed away unexpectedly without a will. His parents were appointed Co-Administrators of his Estate. After his passing, his parents took possession of his iPhone; however, they were unable to access any information since they did not know his passcode. His mother contacted Apple, Inc. to see if she would be able to obtain any information from her son’s iPhone. The Apple representative informed her that she would not be able to retrieve any information from the iPhone without the passcode; however, if the phone was backed up to the iCloud, then she would be able to obtain information without the passcode. In order for Apple to release any information from the iCloud, a court order would be needed since the decedent did not provide Apple with authorization to disclose the content of his digital assets.

Thereafter, the Co-Administrators of the Estate petitioned the Court seeking an order to have access to their son’s digital assets associated with his iPhone. After analyzing the facts at hand and balancing the decedent’s interests in his not having consented to the disclosure of content of any of these digital assets during his lifetime, the Court found that, at this time, the Petitioners did not demonstrate the need to access the content of the decedent’s digital assets for the administration of his Estate; however, the Petitioners were permitted to have access to the non-content digital assets. Matter of Coleman, 2019 N.Y. Slip. Op. 29067 (Westchester Cnty. Surr. Ct. Mar. 11, 2019).

As you can see, digital assets can be a complex matter when it comes to settling a loved one’s estate. As always, we encourage you to seek counsel and plan ahead accordingly.

 

Wednesday, November 6
12:00-2:00pm
Red Lobster
211 Old Country Rd #217
Carle Place, NY 11514
(Lunch)

Register Here

Tuesday, November 12
12:00-2:00pm
The Irish Coffee Pub
131 Carleton Ave.
East Islip, NY 11730
(Lunch)

Register Here

 

Seating is Limited. Online Registration Required.
Register Online at vjrussolaw.com
Contact: Ashley 516-393-3164

 

Family Comes First

Premiere of Season Twelve!

Vincent J. Russo & co-host, 

Victoria Roberts Drogin are thrilled to announce the Season 12 premiere of 

Brand New Episodes of Family Comes First!

Vincent J. Russo and Victoria Roberts Drogin are proud to announce the premiere of the Twelfth Season of their three-time Telly Award-winning show, Family Comes First.

Join us for the premiere episode “Up Close & Personal with Fr. Tony Stanganelli” on Monday, October 28th, 2019 at 9:30 am.

Family Comes First™ episodes will also run on Mondays at 10:30 pm, Wednesdays at 1:30 pm and Fridays at 1:30 pm.

Family Comes First™ airs exclusively on Catholic Faith Network (formally, Telecare TV) – Cablevision Channels 29 and 137, Time Warner channels 106 (Manhattan), 471 (Queens) or Verizon FiOS TV Channel 296.

For more information and resources on Family Comes First™, please follow us on Facebook or visit our Family Comes First™ website at www.vjrussolaw.com/familycomesfirst.


 Family Comes First 
Airs Exclusively on Catholic Faith Network
Cablevision: Ch. 29 & 137
Verizon Fios: Ch. 296
Charter Spectrum: Ch. 162/471
Live streaming at www.CFNtv.org
Episodes air:
Mondays at 9:30 AM & 10:30 PM
Wednesdays at 1:30 PM
Fridays at 1:30 PM
Copyright © 2019
All Rights Reserved.

 

Trusts – Do You Need One?

Frank L. Buquicchio joined Hilary Topper on her talk show, Hilary Topper on Air.  During this podcast, Frank discusses how a Living Trust can be an invaluable planning tool. Trusts can be utilized for a myriad of reasons including avoiding probate and protecting assets from the cost of long term care. They can also be used to protect a loved one who has special needs. It is a common misconception that trusts are “for rich people”. “Rich” is, of course, a relative term, but you do not have to be financially “rich” for a trust to be helpful in your estate plan.

Frank will address the topic trusts and answer common questions such as:

  • What is a living trust?
  • What’s the difference between a revocable and irrevocable living trust and when should each be used?
  • How do living trusts work?
  • How can you determine if you need a living trust to protect a loved one with special needs?

Frank is a wealth of information and was able to direct listeners on how to best inform themselves.  If you missed this podcast on trusts, it can be replayed here.

In Case You Missed It

WATCH THIS SEMINAR TO LEARN:
  • How to Access Quality Long Term Care
  • How to Pay for Long Term Care
  • How to Protect Your Assets and Income
  • What Will Happen if You Don’t Have a Plan

Presenter: Vincent J. Russo, Esq.

Vincent Russo
Vincent J. Russo is the Founder and Managing Shareholder of Russo Law Group, P.C., Serving Seniors and People with Disabilities Since 1985:
  • Co-Founder of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Academy of Special Needs Planners
  • Three Time Telly Award Winner for Family Comes First
  • National Speaker, Author and Advocate for Seniors and People with Special Needs

As elder law attorneys, we frequently meet with family members frustrated by the cost of long-term health care. Many of our clients wish to remain at home but are misinformed as to their options.

A Pooled Income Trust

A Pooled Income Trust is a great vehicle to facilitate the goals of applying for Community (home care) Medicaid and remaining in your own home. This Trust has no age limitation and no pay-back provision. It is established and managed by not-for-profit associations along with a trust company as trustee. The beneficiary of the Trust is the Medicaid applicant/disabled person. The Trust has numerous beneficiaries (hence the term “pooled trust”) so a sub-account is created specifically for each one. During the lifetime of the beneficiary the contributed funds can be used for his/her sole benefit. Upon the beneficiary’s death, any funds remaining in the trust is paid to the not-for-profit agency to help foster its objectives.

Community Medicaid

Community Medicaid has income limitations. For the year 2019, an applicant is permitted to retain $879.00 per month of his/her own income. Due to rising living expenses, the imposition of this limitation can make it impossible to remain in your own home. Without the Pooled Income Trust, any overage of income must be paid to the care agency rendering services as a contribution toward the cost of care. However, by simply participating in a Pooled Income Trust, the applicant may send any excess income to the pooled trust company along with qualifying expenses to preserve that income. Some examples of qualifying expenses are rent, mortgage payments, real estate taxes, utilities, clothing, and private pay care services.

An Example

For example – Mrs. Smith is 80 years old and was diagnosed with dementia. Her income is comprised of social security retirement benefits and a pension in the aggregate sum of $2,400 per month. She wishes to remain at home but has increased medical needs. She relies on the entirety of her income to pay her household bills and daily expenses. By applying for Community Medicaid, she will receive in-home health care services, but she is only permitted to keep $879.00 of her monthly income. She can “join” a Pooled Income Trust and by contributing her overage of $1,521.00 each month ($2,400 – $879 = $1,521) along with invoices for her personal needs and household expenses up to the total amount (less a typically nominal fee paid monthly to the trustee). Now Mrs. Smith can receive the care she needs at home without compromising the balance of her income.

Although the Trust companies charge administrative fees associated with enrollment, generally, the benefits far exceed the costs.

NYS Approved Pooled Income Trust Companies

For a full list of NYS approved Pooled Income Trust Companies, please visit http://www.wnylc.com/health/entry/4/.

CP NASSAU 5K RUN/WALK TO BENEFIT THERESA’S FUN PLACE

Theresa's Fun Place playground sign

ONLY A FEW MORE DAYS TO REACH OUR GOAL – WILL YOU HELP?

COLLECTED
$3,232
TODAY, WE’RE
43%
OF THE WAY THERE
OUR GOAL
$7,500

 

DONATE »


Theresa’s Fun Place is a playground and park at the Children’s Learning Center on the campus of CP Nassau in Roosevelt, NY.

In 2004, the Theresa Foundation provided major funding for the renovation and revitalization of the playground which was then named Theresa’s Fun Place in memory of my daughter, Theresa.

Over 250 students at the Children’s Learning Center, enjoy this fully adapted playground summer, fall and spring. Since its last renovation over 10 years ago, it was time again for a revitalization.

In the Fall of 2017, major fundraising went into effect to collect over $500,000. Over the past 2 years, the Theresa Foundation has given over $150,000 toward this project. The Theresa Foundation is committed to the maintenance and upkeep of this playground.

On Nov. 3rd, CP Nassau is holding a 5K Run/Walk/Roll/Stroll.

TEAM THERESA RUSSO, has committed to raising funds for this event.

Please consider a donation to this wonderful cause. No donation is too small (or big!) Every little bit helps.

Below is the link to our team page, please scroll down and sponsor one of the team members.

DONATE TODAY! »

The funds raised by Team Theresa Russo will be earmarked for Theresa’s Fun Place.

CP NASSAU 5K RUN/WALK

TO BENEFIT THERESA’S FUN PLACE!

Theresa’s Fun Place is a playground and park at the Children’s Learning Center on the campus of CP Nassau in Roosevelt, NY.

In 2004, the Theresa Foundation provided major funding for the renovation and revitalization of the playground which was then named Theresa’s Fun Place in memory of my daughter, Theresa.

Over 250 students at the Children’s Learning Center, enjoy this fully adapted playground summer, fall and spring.  Since its last renovation over 10 years ago, it was time again for a revitalization.

In the Fall of 2017, major fundraising went into effect to collect over $500,000. Over the past 2 years, the Theresa Foundation has given over $150,000 toward this project. The Theresa Foundation is committed to the maintenance and upkeep of this playground.

 

On November 3rd, 2019, CP Nassau is holding a 5K Run/Walk/Roll/Stroll.  

TEAM THERESA RUSSO, has committed to raising funds for this event. 

 

So far, the walk has raised over $7,500 against the goal of $80,000!

Help Team Theresa Russo reach its goal!!!

 

Please consider a donation to this wonderful cause. No donation is too small (or big!) Every little bit helps.

 

Below is the link to our team page, please scroll down and sponsor one of the team members.

TEAM THERESA RUSSO

 

All funds raised from this 5K will go to CP Nassau’s playground project first until the project is covered. Any balance will benefit the MOVE (Mobility Opportunities Via Education) program.

Donate Now

A POLST is a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. In the state of New York, it is more commonly referred to as a MOLST (a Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment). The document is a bright pink form that specifically details a person’s wishes regarding end of life care. It is signed by both the patient and his or her treating physician or a nurse practitioner. The patient specifically states preferences of care which is converted into an actionable plan. The plan is then integrated into his/her medical record.

About the MOLST Program

The MOLST program began in the year 2001. It was started as a community-driven initiative in Rochester County to improve end‑of-life care. The program collaborated with the New York State Department of Health (“NYSDOH”) in 2004. The NYSDOH then approved the use of MOLST in all health care facilities and for use in all counties in 2005.

About the Document

This document is generally presented by a health care professional upon a diagnosis of terminal illness to residents residing in a long-term care facility or to seriously ill or frail individuals. It is a legally binding instrument. A health care agent, surrogate or guardian may also sign the form on behalf of the patient or disabled person, or a parent may sign for a minor child.

The form has sections to specifically address the following:

  1. Resuscitation, when there is no pulse or the patient is not breathing;
  2. Intubation and mechanical ventilation;
  3. Treatment guidelines for oxygen and airway obstruction;
  4. Future hospitalization and transfer;
  5. Antibiotics and medication;
  6. Fluid administration (including a trial period); and
  7. Other instructions for starting and stopping treatment such as dialysis or transfusions.

Confusion often exists as to whether a MOLST replaces the need for advance directives such as a Health Care Proxy or Living Will. To clarify, a MOLST is not an advance directive for future care. Instead, it is a treatment plan based on your current health and prognosis. This document works together to supplement your advance directives but it is not at all a substitute. Advance directives are safeguards that all adults (regardless of health condition) should have. A Health Care Proxy allows your designated agent to sign a MOLST on your behalf if you are unable to do so at that time.

It should be noted that Emergency Medical Service (EMS) can only withhold the resuscitation of a patient in his or her home based on a MOLST order. Any directives regarding the withholding of life-sustaining treatment in a Living Will is only valid in a health care facility such as a hospital or nursing home.

Common MOLST Uses

Although there is no “terminally ill” requirement for the execution of a MOLST, it is most commonly used in end-of-life situations and signed in a medical facility. You can request the form from your health care provider or order it directly from the following link: https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/4208/pdf/4208_order_form.pdf.

GARDEN CITY, NY—Six attorneys from Russo Law Group, P.C. have been honored by Super Lawyers Magazine: three attorneys were named Super Lawyers and three attorneys were named Rising Stars.

Super Lawyers is an attorney rating service that recognizes outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are based upon a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, peer reviews, and other indicators of professional achievement.

Russo Law Group, P.C. honorees include:

Vincent Russo

Vincent J. Russo, Managing Partner, has been named a Super Lawyer for Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate, Tax, and Real Estate. It is the 10th time Russo has earned Super Lawyer status.


Frank Buquicchio

Frank L. Buquicchio, Partner has been a Super Lawyer from 2014 – 2019 in the areas of Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate.


Marie Elena Puma

Marie Elena R. Puma, Partner, has been a Super Lawyer from 2016 – 2019 in the areas of Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate, Estate & Trust Litigation.


Eric J. Einhart

Eric J. Einhart, Partner, has been a Rising Star from 2016 – 2019 in the areas of Estate Planning & Probate, Elder Law, Tax, Estate & Trust Litigation.


Kim Christian

Kim N. Christian, Partner, was named a Rising Star in 2014 in the areas of Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate.


Joshua R. Berzak

Joshua R. Berzak, Associate Attorney, has been named a Rising Star for 2019 in the areas of Estate Planning & Probate, Real Estate, Estate & Trust Litigation.

Russo Law Group, P.C. focuses on the areas of Elder Law, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning, Veterans Benefits, Guardianships, Probate and Trust Administration, and Real Estate. The firm has offices in Garden City, Islandia, Lido Beach, Manhattan, and Bay Shore.

Special Needs Planning

Deanna M, Eble joined Hilary Topper on her talk show, Hilary Topper on Air.  During this podcast, Deanna discusses some of the hurdles of raising a child with special needs. Many parents are inundated with information from all different sources encouraging a guardianship for their child. Guardianship is not the only option when it comes to your child reaches age 18. She addresses common special needs planning questions and provides answers to:

  • What happens when your child turns 18?
  • Are there government benefits that exist?
  • Available socialization services?
  • Employment opportunities are available?
  • What living arrangements exist?
  • How do you plan in advance?

Deanna is a wealth of information and was able to direct listeners on how to best inform themselves.  If you missed this podcast on special needs planning, it can be replayed here.