News & Insights

When Can a Difficult Executor or Trustee Be Removed?

Executor or Trustee

Conflicts between fiduciaries (whether executors or trustees) and beneficiaries are not unusual. For instance, these often occur with trusts of long duration, where the trustee controls a beneficiary’s access to assets which the beneficiary would prefer to have outright. Disputes may also arise among co-executors or co-trustees, especially if they have differing views on how … Read more

How Are Damages Allocated Among Survivors in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Where negligence or other misconduct causes a death, survivors of the deceased may have a claim for wrongful death against the responsible parties. Wrongful death lawsuits can result in significant monetary awards. For instance, several wrongful death verdicts in excess of $2 million were entered in New York during 2020. However, it is important to … Read more

Beware: Considerations for Estates of Decedents who Owned Guns

Leaving a gun to someone in your will can present a number of complications in the administration of your estate. New York law doesn’t allow an executor or beneficiary to simply take possession of a gun when they take over the estate of a gun owner. There are issues pertinent to gun ownership which must be considered in order to avoid complications and potential legal liability in estate planning and estate administration.

Executor responsibilities

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An Executor’s Guide to Settling an Estate

Executors are responsible for handling the administration of an estate until it is “settled” or closed. Once the assets have been marshaled, bills have been paid, specific bequests distributed, and any outstanding issues resolved, the fiduciary (the executor or administrator) must prepare an “accounting.” An accounting must be done before the estate’s remaining assets (called the “residuary”) can be distributed to beneficiaries and before the executor will be released from all claims regarding the administration of the estate.

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When Can Executors Honor a Power of Attorney?

One of the responsibilities of an estate executor or administrator is dealing with beneficiaries of an estate. What appears to be a straightforward task can be complicated when the executor is contacted by someone who claims to hold a power of attorney (POA) for a beneficiary of the estate (also known as an “attorney-in-fact”). An attorney-in-fact is typically involved when a beneficiary is elderly or disabled and cannot act on his/her own behalf. There are special rules in place for New York executors when they deal with an attorney-in-fact. They cannot necessarily recognize the POA unless certain requirements are met.

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Obstacles in Identifying the Assets in an Estate

The executor or administrator of an estate has a duty to “marshal”—or collect—all of the decedent’s assets so the assets can be distributed to the appropriate heirs. Usually, this is a simple process. However, sometimes executors and administrators face obstacles in identifying the assets in an estate, where the assets are located and how to obtain possession of the assets. It is important to know the tools available to overcome obstacles in collecting and preserving the decedent’s assets in order to protect the beneficiaries of the estate and avoid liability.

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