Estate and Elder Law

Recent Posts

Attempted Disclosure of Confidential Financial Information
Posted on 3 Dec 2012 by Jennifer Hillman

Many estate litigators are familiar with the fight for disclosure of personal income tax returns or financial documents. Perhaps you have represented the beneficiary who insists upon the disclosure of a trustee's personal income tax returns because... Read More

Potential Pitfalls of an Out of State Executor: Keep New York Estate Assets in New York
Posted on 12 Jun 2013 by Jennifer Hillman

By Jennifer F. Hillman Pursuant to New York Surrogate Court Procedure Act ("SCPA") § 711, a fiduciary cannot remove property of an estate from New York without prior approval of the Court. A violation of this duty could lead to suspension... Read More

Modern Day Thorn Birds: Recent Case Concerns Proving Paternity of Non-Marital Children under the NY EPTL
Posted on 5 Apr 2012 by Jennifer Hillman

A recent article in the New York Daily News entitled Man Claiming to Be Son of Dead Brooklyn Priest Loses Battle for Piece of His Estate provided a sensational headline for an interesting scenario involving paternity and inheritance under the New... Read More

When To Object To Attorney-Fiduciary Commissions
Posted on 28 Aug 2015 by Jennifer Hillman

By Jennifer F. Hillman, Esq. In the past, I have written about the additional disclosures necessary when the nominated executor under a will is also the attorney-drafter (or an employee of that attorney). [i] If an attorney-executor fails to comply... Read More

NY EPTL 5-4.6 and Compromise Orders
Posted on 22 Jun 2012 by Jennifer Hillman

Settlement of a wrongful death action can pose a challenge for the decedent's attorney. Wrongful death actions are usually a two-step process. First, the trial court handles the wrongful death action itself, and then the Surrogate's Court, which... Read More

To The Victor Goes The Spoils: A Review of the Pro Tanto Rule
Posted on 4 Feb 2013 by Jennifer Hillman

What's fair is fair - or at least that's the concept behind the pro tanto rule wherein a surcharge against a fiduciary is limited to the interest of the objecting party and not the other beneficiaries who stood by and failed to act in their own... Read More

Digging A Little Deeper: Less Obvious Attesting Witness-Beneficiaries Find Their Bequest Void Under NY EPTL 3-3.2
Posted on 8 Feb 2013 by Jennifer Hillman

It is well-understood by estate practitioners that a beneficiary of an estate should not serve as an attesting witness to a will. If he does, he or she is a competent witness for purposes of probating the will, however, under EPTL 3-3.2 , the bequest... Read More

Effective Transfers to a Trust
Posted on 29 Aug 2012 by Jennifer Hillman

In New York, a lifetime trust shall be valid as to any assets that are effectively transferred to the trust. However, a transfer is not accomplished by a simple recital of assignment or a listing of an asset on Schedule A. Matter of Rothwell , 189... Read More

Jennifer F. Hillman: Inheritance Rights of Posthumously Conceived Children in New York State
Posted on 10 Jul 2014 by Jennifer Hillman

By: Jennifer F. Hillman, Esq. Medical technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. Since the first “test tube” baby was born on July 25, 1978, the field of artificial reproduction has blossomed. According to the United Stated Department... Read More

Tangible Personal Property: What Does it Encompass?
Posted on 12 Jan 2015 by Jennifer Hillman

By Jennifer F. Hillman The phrase “tangible personal property” is a term of art frequently utilized by estate practitioners when drafting documents. However, what is, and what is not tangible personal property is not always clear. A recent... Read More

New York Appellate Court Broadens the Powers of an Attorney-In-Fact
Posted on 25 Sep 2012 by Jennifer Hillman

By: Jennifer F. Hillman, Esq. A recent decision out of the New York Appellate Division Second Department broadened the range of powers enumerated to an attorney-in-fact to include the ability to amend a previously executed irrevocable inter vivos... Read More

The Often Misunderstood Rule Against Perpetuities
Posted on 24 Jul 2012 by Jennifer Hillman

By Jennifer F. Hillman, Esq. The Rule Against Perpetuities is an often misunderstood rule which strikes panic in the hearts of many law students and practitioners alike. Simply put, the rule limits the ability of owners to control future dispositions... Read More

Potential Pitfalls of Convenience Accounts
Posted on 24 Feb 2012 by Jennifer Hillman

By Jennifer F. Hillman * Convenience accounts are frequently utilized to assist the elderly or infirm with their financial obligations. The account holder will add an additional person to the account which gives them the ability to write checks... Read More

Making Your Mark: Using a Fingerprint When a Testator Cannot Sign the Will
Posted on 6 Feb 2014 by Jennifer Hillman

By Jennifer F. Hillman, Esq. We have all seen the movies where an illiterate individual signs an important document with an “X”. Even literate clients may have difficulty signing a document due to a severe physical impairment. Compliance... Read More

Must A Living Person Disclose Their Estate Plan: The Limits of NY CPLR § 4503
Posted on 6 Jan 2014 by Jennifer Hillman

By Jennifer F. Hillman, Esq. Most communications between an attorney and client are privileged pursuant to New York Civil Procedure Act (“CPLR”) § 4503. There is, however, a carve-out in proceedings concerning the probate, validity... Read More