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Columnist in one of New York's Poorest Counties Sees the Estate Tax as a "Major Issue"

Hi Y'all. I'm back. Sorry for the big break in posting. I'll try to do better. In this election year, I haven't heard that much talk about the estate tax - or as the Republicans like to call it, the "Death Tax." As I've written about before, the estate tax is imposed...

Attorney-Executor Beware: Strict Compliance With SCPA § 2307-a Is Needed For Full Commissions

By: Jennifer F. Hillman, Esq. When the nominated executor under a will is also the attorney-draftsman (or an employee of that attorney) additional disclosures are necessary to assure that the nominated executor will receive their full statutory commissions. Pursuant to New York Surrogate’s Court...

Estate Failed to Prove Museum’s Laches on Claim to a 3,000 Year Old Archeological Artifact Missing Since WWII

By John G. Farinacci, Esq. In a rather unique ceremony at the Nassau County Surrogate’s Court on December 4, 2013, Surrogate Edward W. McCarty, III ordered and presided over the physical return of an ancient Assyrian artifact from the possession of an executor of a decedent’s estate to...

Must A Living Person Disclose Their Estate Plan: The Limits of NY CPLR § 4503

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 or construction of a will. Pursuant to CPLR §...

Making Your Mark: Using a Fingerprint When a Testator Cannot Sign the Will

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 with the requirements of New York Estate Powers...

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...

Recent Changes to New York's Estate Tax Laws

By David R. Schoenhaar, Esq.* Effective April 1, 2014, as part of the implementation of the 2014-2015 budget, the legislature and Governor Cuomo made significant changes to New York’s estate and trust income tax laws. According to Governor Cuomo, a key objective is to provide tax relief to New...

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...

A Matter of Convenience: From Bank Accounts to Real Property

By John G. Farinacci Estate litigators see a wide variety of disputed issues since the affairs of decedents are as diverse as the types of people they were during their lives. However, we also see many of the same or similar fact patterns. One of these involves disputes over whether the addition of...

The Digital Age of Estate Planning

By Linda B. Hirschson and Shifra Herzberg The proliferation of technology has moved communication, banking, networking, games, photos and music to the digital arena. In this Emerging Issues Analysis, Linda B. Hirschson, a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig's New York office and chair of the New...

When To Object To Attorney-Fiduciary Commissions

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 with the requirements of New York Surrogate’s...