LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Disclaimers - Saying "No" to Your Inheritance

The New York Times ran an article " Saying 'No Thanks' to a Bequest ". In the article, Deborah L. Jacobs explores how a disclaimer provision either included in an estate plan, or created after death, can achieve some estate tax savings in this environment of uncertainty about...

The Trials of Vickie Lynn Marshall

On March 19, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dealt a serious blow to the estate of Anna Nicole Smith (actual name: Vickie Lynn Marshall). Unfortunately for spectators, the meat of this latest ruling in the now deceased Mrs. Marshall's various legal entanglements involving...

Gifts You Can Give After Your Lifetime

A previous Oast & Hook article discussed the different gifting options that are available for you. These included gifts of cash, appreciated property, and real estate. This article discusses the different gifting options that are available after your death. These options include bequests in either...

Will The Probate Court Protect Me?

Probate is a state court supervised procedure to authenticate a Will and to pass ownership of a deceased person's assets to the beneficiaries under that Will. If a person elects to have a probate by signing a Will (rather than signing and transferring assets to a revocable living trust) will...

Is a Will a Will? The Devil is in the Details

If you mean for a Will to be your (or your client's) Last Will and Testament, will it be? While the answer is "most likely" my colleague Don Vanarelli, Esq. has a great post outlining a set of facts where the decedent clearly intended her Last Will and Testament to be different, but that...

Income Deduction of Estate Planning Fees

With April 15 th approaching, it reminds us of the need to file our income tax returns. When preparing estate planning documents, clients often ask, "are these estate planning fees deductible?" The cost to do a simple Will, Power of Attorney and Medical Directive are personal expenses and...

U.S. Supreme Court cites Florida inheritance law in unusual case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in the case of Astrue v. Capato. The circumstances of the case are ones most of us will never experience. Nonetheless, the case has lessons for everyone. It underscores the importance of creating a precisely worded estate plan that takes all contingencies...

What does it mean to be "family" with 21st century science?

In law school we learned about the "fertile octogenarian" - a theoretical construct about what would happen to a property distribution scheme in an estate plan if you had some wacky birth order situation (ie: my great-uncle is 60 years younger than me). Back in 1995, this was largely theoretical...

Ask Liza: Can I See the Will?

Dear Liza: My adult son just passed away. I would like to know whether, when his Will is probated, I will be able to see a copy? My condolences on your loss. Your son's Will must be filed in the probate court in the county in which he died as part of the probate process. Once it is filed, it is...

Ask Liza: Probate for U.S. Assets; Estate Tax for Non-Resident Aliens

Dear Liza: My brother and I are dual citizens (Japan and US). We both reside in the US. Our Japanese mother recently passed away. She had some cash/ stock/ annuities/ mutual funds in the US, and some property in Japan that we will inherit jointly, with no disputes. She has a social security number and...

Ask Liza: What's a Testamentary Trust?

Dear Liza: I've read that I could create a trust for my children in a Will, then name that trust as a beneficiary of my retirement account. That way, as I understand it, my successor Trustee could manage those retirement assets for my children until they grow up. But if I do that, will my estate...

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 §...

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...

Dedon on Estate Planning: Disposition of Tangible Personal Property in a Side Letter

A common question asked by clients preparing their Wills is how to dispose of tangible personal property upon death. For example, I am asked, "I have jewelry and a coin collection, do I need to specify how those items are distributed among my children upon my death or can I simply tell the children...

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...

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...