Unfortunately, there’s an increasing need to litigate matters in the world of trusts and estates to achieve a just result. Trust and estate laws can be complex, and there are a myriad of laws, requirements, and obligations involving families addressing estate matters in New York.
Understanding New York Last Wills and Testaments (Nassau County, Suffolk County, and New York City, NY)
The first area to consider is will contests in probate proceedings in the state of New York. When a loved one changes their will (especially near the time of their death), it may call into question the intentions of their will. Issues can arise when a family member has been removed as a beneficiary, or limited provisions have been made for them.
Invalid or Voided Wills
A last will and testament in New York or Florida can be voided due to undue influence, lack of capacity, or the improper execution of the will. A disinherited beneficiary may be able to have the court void the will and enforce a prior will or have the estate pass by intestacy, which can be to the disinherited beneficiary’s benefit.
New York and Florida will provisions may be challenged due to a lack of clarity by a reformation proceeding, which can ensure the decedent’s wishes are carried out as intended.
Problems with the Executor
Sometimes, there’s an issue regarding the executor who fails to do their job properly. A removal proceeding can have the executor removed and replaced. There are situations when the nominated executor should not be appointed in the first place, and their appointment can be challenged.
Other times, the executor may leave a beneficiary in the dark during the estate administration. It’s possible to seek an accounting from the executor sharing the collection of the estate assets and income, the payment of estate expenses, and distributions to the beneficiaries. The executor has a duty to properly manage and invest the estate assets and file estate and income tax returns when required by law.
Confusion Regarding Gifting
Other times, an estate may have been reduced or eliminated by gifting prior to death or by retitling assets or beneficiary designations. Such actions, especially when undertaken by an agent under a durable power of attorney or on a person’s death bed, may prevent achieving the decedent’s real intentions about who should benefit from their estate and how. A turnover proceeding can return the assets to the estate in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and the surrounding New York area.
Trust Administration in New York
Similar to the issues addressed under wills, trusts present similar problems and are subject to the same scrutiny. A trust may be challenged if not properly executed, affected by undue influence, or a lack of capacity.
Trustees are charged with carrying out trust provisions. Beneficiaries have a right to receive the trust assets as directed in the New York trust. Trustees are fiduciaries and have a responsibility to the beneficiary for the proper administration of the trust, including proper management and investment of the trust assets.
When issues arise regarding the trustee’s actions, beneficiaries can seek the legal services of an experienced trust and estate litigator to represent them in New York courts.
New York Litigation Services
At our Nassau and Suffolk County law firms, we have represented individuals to ensure that their testamentary desires in their will or trust are carried out. We represent executors and trustees in the New York administration process, including advising them of their responsibilities and defending them when claims are made against them by beneficiaries and family members. Lastly, we represent beneficiaries and family members who have issues regarding the implementation of a will or trust and the administrative process.
Before litigating in New York, there are a number of ways to resolve problems in the most effective and cost-efficient manner. At our New York law firm, we explore all options and strategies with our clients before commencing litigation. It can be emotionally draining, time-consuming, and costly. Unfortunately, sometimes litigation is required to obtain justice.
Russo Law Group, P.C. helps you and your loved ones with Estate Planning, Elder Law, Special Needs Planning, New York Medicaid Planning, Trust & Estate, Guardianship, Small Business Planning, and Real Estate law. We welcome you to contact our Garden City, Lido Beach, or Islandia, New York, law offices to learn more about how we can help address your estate planning legal matters.
If you have questions or concerns about trust & estate litigation in Long Island and New York City communities, please don’t hesitate to contact the trust & estate and litigation attorneys at Russo Law Group, P.C. While we have several office locations, we can also visit your home and offer virtual meetings for your convenience.