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Court of jurisdiction for trust administration in New York

The court that will have jurisdiction over trust matters does not depend on where the testator of a will creating the trust was domiciled. Similarly, a lifetime trust does not depend on the domicile of the grantor if the contained real property and assets exist in New York.

When a trustee administers an estate, he or she will be responsible for paying the taxes, investing the assets wisely and distributing income and assets to the intended trust beneficiaries. New York's trust laws make it clear that, for tax purposes, New York will consider the assets that are administered in New York and that exist in New York are subject to the local court's jurisdiction.

The law also allows a surrogate court to act on behalf of the court having jurisdiction. For example, if a piece of real property exists in one county in New York and is owned by the trust, another county from where the administrator is working may operate as a surrogate for the court that does have jurisdiction. This is done to allow a uniform resolution of any litigation, assessments of taxes and monitoring of the administration of the trust.

Trust administration can be highly complicated, especially when the testator or grantor was domiciled in a different state or has assets owned by the trust within and outside of New York. To make certain the laws are carefully followed, people should be careful in their selection of a trustee to administer the estate. People may also want to discuss their options with an estate planning attorney. An attorney might be able to help his or her clients choose the best type of trust designed to meet their clients' individual estate planning needs.

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