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Queens Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Could my beneficiaries contest my will?

Will contests are somewhat common in New York. However, if you were concerned about the enforceability of changes you made to your will, it might help to know that successfully contesting a will often takes a solid legal basis, extensive knowledge of case law and familiarity with the probate process of the relevant jurisdiction. Perhaps most importantly, the court would only consider a few people automatically eligible to formally argue with your decisions. 

This does not mean, however, that you would have free reign in distributing your property. The provisions in your will would have to comply with New York law. You could also follow some precautionary steps to ensure that your survivors stay faithful to your intentions.  

Mandated communication could cause probate delays

Beneficiaries and those with a pecuniary interest in a given estate are often allowed to participate, in various ways, in the New York probate process. If someone were to disagree with some of the terms of a will, it may not be necessary for the party to contest. 

Probate is often a convoluted and time-consuming process. Understanding all of the ways that beneficiaries and interested parties might affect the outcome — and how these individual's actions and interests might affect each other in a certain case — is often critical for success.

The effort that goes into creating a trust

At our New York offices, the team at Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C., believes that everyone should have access to effective estate planning tools. You could protect your loved ones after you pass, save more of the value of your estate and maintain the direction and purpose of your assets by creating the appropriate trust structure. We take pride in helping our clients obtain peace of mind, but the process often involves far more than simply drawing up a document for somebody to sign. 

Our first step after concluding an initial consultation is often to discuss the various trust options and their specific powers under their relevant jurisdictions. Even our most finance- and law-savvy clients often learn something during this stage. Sometimes, that information forms the core of a client's estate strategy. 

Why parents of the disabled should consider special needs trusts

If you are a New York parent of a disabled or special needs child, your estate planning needs will likely differ considerably from those of your friends and colleagues. A special needs trust is one method many parents of special needs children use to make plans for the future, and at the law offices of Joseph A. Ledwidge, we have helped many clients with similar concerns consider this and related estate planning options.

According to CNBC, covering the lifetime care of your special needs child can cost millions of dollars. However, a special needs trust may help you set aside assets for your disabled child without worrying about whether those assets will disqualify your child from being able to receive public assistance.

Getting your affairs in order is critical

Many people in New York, do not except to be placed in a situation where their life may be cut short. Whether people are the recipient of a terminal medical diagnosis or are involved in catastrophic collision, they may find out that they do not have much longer to live. If this type of situation should occur, it may be best if people prepare their estate in such a way that their family members will have everything they need when they are gone.

One of the most important things is to get organized. People should make sure they have critical documents, including their last will and testament, financial account information, real estate, insurance policies and estate information, in one place. Contact information for lawyers, financial advisors, accountants and insurance agents should also be included.

What constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty?

If you are the executor of someone’s New York estate or the trustee of his or her trust, that makes you a fiduciary. In other words, you are someone entrusted with the power and authority to handle assets for the benefit of others. Because the decedent or trust settlor trusted you to manage and distribute his or her assets, you owe a duty to the estate or trust to do so competently, appropriately and for the benefit of the designated heirs and/or beneficiaries.

Becoming a fiduciary is serious business and entails many duties on your part. As FindLaw explains, should you fail to fulfill those duties by properly managing and distributing the assets entrusted to your care, the heirs and/or beneficiaries can sue you for breach of fiduciary duty

What can you accomplish with an irrevocable living trust?

If you live in New York and are currently trying to determine the best way to preserve your wealth for your loved ones once you pass on, you may be considering establishing different forms of trusts as one method of doing so. While different types of trusts offer different benefits and drawbacks, you may be giving some thought to creating what is known as an irrevocable living trust, which many consider a solid, important estate planning strategy.

Per the Motley Fool, an irrevocable living trust, as the name implies, is one that you cannot change once you create it. While some might see the binding nature of an irrevocable trust as a negative, there are actually numerous benefits associated with this type of trust that for many, negate the main drawback.

What happens when an executor steals or fails to do the job

Managing someone else's estate is a time-consuming and complicated task. Many times, it is also a thankless job. Some testators earmark special compensation for the executor of their estate or the trustee managing their trust. Others do not.

Regardless of whether or not an executor receives compensation for the tasks, he or she has a fiduciary duty to the deceased and the beneficiaries of the will or trust.

What are the primary advantages of trusts?

If you live in New York and are currently navigating your way through the estate planning process, you may be sorting through your options in an effort to determine the best way to preserve your wealth for future generations. Chances are, you may be exploring the idea of placing some of your assets into a trust, but you may not have much experience in the area or a comprehensive understanding of exactly what trusts can do.

According to CNN, trusts, which are fiduciary arrangements that involve you placing certain assets under the care of a trustee, can prove tremendously helpful for those looking to leave as much as possible behind for their loved ones. While different types of trusts offer different advantages, many people choose to place assets into trusts because of the many money-saving benefits they can offer.