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July 2014 Archives

Liability for debts of the deceased

Residents of New York who have recently lost a loved one may wonder what debts they could be liable for repaying. The first question to be answered is who is responsible for the financial administration of an estate. If there is a will, an executor should be named. If there is no executor, the state will appoint someone to oversee a deceased person's financial affairs. This person is called the administrator and is chosen in part by their relationship to the person who has died. Generally, the surviving spouse and children are the first ones asked.

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman declined trust fund for kids

The will of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, currently in probate in New York, leaves everything to the mother of his three children. According to those close to him, Hoffman did not want his children to be trust fund children. While Hoffman and his children's mother were not married, their relationship was described as being like a marriage. Hoffman wrote the will in 2004 when he had only a one-year-old son, but according to his accountant, as recently as one year ago, he reinforced his belief that he did not want to set aside a trust for his children.

Family fights over inheritances

Baby boomers are estimated to receive a median amount of $64,000 from their parents as they pass away. With so much wealth being passed on from parents to adult children, fights over who should get what from their parents are becoming more common in New York and around the country. While many of these battles are continuations of sibling rivalries that have lasted for years, some of the conflict stems from the fact that many people are going through tough financial times.

Protecting the provisions in a will and testament

Putting final wishes and bequests in writing through the form of an official will is one of the best ways to ensure that a New York resident's estate is properly dsitributed. However, there are many reasons a court will invalidate a will after death. There are common mistakes that people make which allow heirs to contest the will and force the courts to make changes that the deceased may not have wanted.

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Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C.