LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Ask Liza: Excluding Someone From Your Will

By Liza Weiman Hanks Dear Liza: I am helping my friend make a Will. It’s very simple, with one heir. She wants to make sure her brother, who is her only living relative and from who she has been estranged from since they left home (she’s 75 ) is not able to challenge the Will. She wants...

Ask Liza: Adding That New Baby

By Liza Weiman Hanks Dear Liza: My wife and I are the proud parents of two young boys. As a part of our estate planning we have created a Joint Living Trust and funded it with the title to our home, our life insurance policies as well as a few other things. We are now, however, expecting a third child...

Opening the Safe Deposit Box

By Peter K. Kelly Of Counsel, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek Often shortly after a decedent’s death, family members need to search the decedent’s safe deposit box for the original Will, a deed to a burial plot, a policy of life insurance or papers bearing upon his or her desire as to the...

John G. Farinacci: Abandonment Cases in Surrogate’s Court Present Difficult Factual Issues

By John G. Farinacci Naturally, abandonment and failure to meet support obligations are two grounds upon which an otherwise lawful heir can be disqualified from inheriting in New York as in most other jurisdictions. EPTL 5-1.2. Failure to support is generally easier to determine. However, with the...

John G. Farinacci: Rules Concerning Non-Party Subpoenas Finally Made Uniform

By John G. Farinacci, Esq. In New York Surrogate’s Court litigation, there are many unique discovery devices that would be foreign to an attorney that litigates primarily in State Supreme Court. An SCPA 2103 discovery proceeding is one example. However, the majority of discovery in Surrogate’s...

Searching for Frank: What Is A Diligent Search For Heirs?

By Jennifer F. Hillman, Esq. | Finding the current whereabouts of long-lost beneficiaries or distributes may be one of the more difficult aspects of an estate proceeding. Aside from the jurisdictional requirements, what happens when a beneficiary or distributee has not been heard from for decades...

The Cats Win, The Dogs Lose: Court Upholds the Validity of Pet Trust For Cats

By Peter K. Kelly | Leonore Abels in her Will provided that her residuary pass in trust for her husband Joel Abels and, in the alternative should he predecease her, all of her property be sold, except her house, and held by the trustee to maintain her home, to pay a salary and bonus to her housekeeper...

Jennifer F. Hillman: Inheritance Rights of Posthumously Conceived Children in New York State

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 of Health and Human Services Office of Population...

John Dedon on Estate Planning – Staying Current

Attached below is a July 3, 2014 Forbes article detailing the need for clients to review and update their estate plans. Now that I have been in practice for 30 years, approximately 25 percent of the legal work that I do comes from existing clients updating their estate plans for various reasons. Why...

David Shulman on Estate Planning: Finding Your Digital Assets After Death

by David Shulman I’ve written before about estate planning for your digital assets and online accounts. Well this article isn’t necessarily about planning , but what happens after you die – especially if you don’t plan (or even if you do). I do both estate planning and probate...

Ask Liza: Estate Planning Beats Avoidance

By Liza Weiman Hanks | Dear Liza: We live in Nebraska. I own a ranch with my brother. Part of it we inherited and a small part we purchased from family members. The total value of the ranch is $2.7 million. We have a buy sell agreement between us. We have estate questions and aren’t sure where...

David Shulman: Gizmodo Gets Everything About the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act Wrong

By David Shulman As I’ve written recently , the Uniform Law Commission approved the Uniform Fidicuary Access to Digital Assets Act. The act can be found on the Committee’s website , along with supplemental material, such as prior drafts, comments, and issues memorandum. A direct link to...

Ask Liza: Getting Good Advice When You Are The Beneficiary

By Liza Weiman Hanks Dear Liza: After dealing with an unexpected death of my spouse my head is still spinning.. My spouse was very private after a divorce and we kept our affairs separate. Now the Will, of which I was unaware, allows me to stay in our home and if I choose to leave or pass it goes...

Ask Liza: Naming a Minor as a Beneficiary of an IRA

By Liza Weiman Hanks | Dear Liza: I want to name my minor grandchildren as beneficiaries of my IRA account. How do I do that? Can I use my Will? It’s a smart idea to name minors as beneficiaries of your IRAs. Since they are young, they’ll be able to withdraw that money slowly over their...

Tangible Personal Property: What Does it Encompass?

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 case, In re Rothschild , N.Y.L.J., October 28...

Ask Liza: Reporting Foreign Gifts

Dear Liza: Does a person receiving a gift from a sibling in another country have to pay gift tax on that gift in the United States? In the United States, gifts are not considered ordinary income, so you don’t have to report them or pay income tax on the amount you’ve received. (If a US citizen...

Ask Liza: Who Inherits When There’s No Beneficiary?

Dear Liza: My dad named his mother as his beneficiary, but she passed away in 2004. My dad died in 2013 but didn’t change his beneficiary. I am my father’s only child and he has no wife, so who gets the money ? When a person dies and there’s no surviving beneficiary named for an account...

Ask Liza: When does a Will Make Sense?

Dear Liza: A friend of mine is considering a living trust. The only property he has is a coin collection maybe worth around $15,000. He has an adult daughter who he doesn’t communicate with and does not want her to get anything. He would like to leave the collection to me. Is a living trust a good...

Ask Liza: Paying Capital Gains on Appreciated Assets

Dear Liza, My father passed away in 2002 when the federal estate tax limit was $1million. At that time my mother chose to put their home in the Bypass Trust. She has now passed and the home is worth $1.4 million. Do we inherit tax free or pay taxes on the amount over $1million? It’s nice when I...

John Dedon On Estate Planning: Are Asset Discounts on Family Transfers a Thing of the Past?

Perhaps the primary estate planning strategy utilized in reducing gift and estate tax for several decades has been taking advantage of discounts for family transfers of closely held businesses and real estate interests. These same discounts also apply to marketable securities if packaged properly in...

Ask Liza: Paying Credit Card Debt As Trustee

Dear Liza, My father passed away recently, and all of his and my mom’s assets are held in a living trust (except an individual checking account), of which I am now the Trustee. A few collection agencies are now contacting me about collecting on some credit card balances, which are fairly significant...

Massachusetts Law Sets Forth Fiduciary Responsibilities For Guardians And Provides Limits

By Honorable Jennifer Rivera Ulwick Unlike conservators, guardians do not handles finances, acting as conservators as they may have in the past when appointed as "guardian of the estate." Unless otherwise provided by the court, the guardian is limited to making decisions regarding the incapacitated...

Creation, Execution And Revocation Of Massachusetts Health Care Proxies

By John Dugan Massachusetts law provides for the execution, administration and governance of health care proxies. A health care proxy is a written instrument signed by a competent adult appointing another competent adult to make health care decisions in the event of his or her subsequent incapacity...

Elaine Gagliardi on Proposed Treasury Regulations Clarifying I.R.C. Section 1022 Carryover Basis Rules

By Elaine Gagliardi Proposed treasury regulations have been promulgated to clarify the interaction of the I.R.C. Section 1022 carryover basis rules with other sections of the Internal Revenue Code. In this Emerging Issues Analysis, Elaine Gagliardi, a professor of law at the University of Montana...

David Shulman: ULC’s Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act Supported by Tech Industry

By David Shulman The Uniform Law Commission is a non-profit organization that drafts “model” or “uniform” laws that can be adopted by state legislatures. Individual legislatures can then adopt the act as is, or can tweak it as they see fit. I have previously written about the...