Blog of The Law Offices of Daniel Timins

Life-Draining Probate? It’s Probably the Court’s Fault

There are many, many attorneys who are not experienced in handling New York Surrogate’s Court cases or qualified to handle anything except the easiest Probate. This article isn’t about them. This article is about how an agonizingly-long, Probate of a Will is most likely the Court’s fault.   New York’s Surrogate’s Court used to be the Unified Court System’s neat china doll in a house full of dirty toys: Every clerk in every county was professional, smart and helpful (except Queens County, they were awful), Probates moved forward quickly, and questions were answered on the spot. Yes, certain counties did things “their way” (I.e. NOT the way the Surrogate’s Court Procedures Act outlines how Probate should be administered), but not

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When a Trust Beneficiary Doesn’t Have a Copy of Their Trust

The last few generations have seen an immense growth in wealth that can be transferred to family members. They have also seen an increase in the types of temptations available to those family members: More drugs, more frivolous items to spend on, more high-risk business opportunities that don’t pan out. So wealthy family members leave these bequests using trusts, so the funds may be protected from the beneficiary, for the beneficiary. But what happens when a beneficiary can’t find their copy of the trust, and what rights does that beneficiary have over those funds?   I see this problem at least once per week: The beneficiary’s parent / grandparent / uncle left them funds in a trust, but the beneficiary

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Should I Share My Will with My Financial Advisor?

And the answer is: No. Usually. See you next week.   Okay, okay, I’ll elaborate.   Your Last Will and Testament is a confidential document while you are alive. When you pass away your Will may be Probated in a court – at which time it’s contents are publicly available – so that your estate’s assets are properly distributed to your choice of beneficiaries.   So only you and your lawyer have access to the contents of your Will. Disinherit your son? He can’t find out while you are alive. Have more assets than your family knows about? They shall continue to live in ignorance. Don’t trust third parties with access to your confidential information? No problem, nothing to see

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Don’t Leave Money to Charity Using Your Will

Charities receive some of their largest gifts upon the passing of a benefactor. While this is a kind gesture on your part, if you live in New York you should leave money to your preferred charity using any method other than your Will.   Probate is Annoying: Probating a Will requires New York’s involvement, meaning Probate can be an expensive, tedious and slow process. You will need to both place the charity on notice that they are a beneficiary under the Will, send them their funds, and procure a Release from the charity. All of this takes time, meaning an attorney is billing for all of this.   Attorney General’s Involvement: As if New York’s courts weren’t inefficient enough for

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No One Likes Your Uncle Marvin: Isolated Aging Men

Many of us have an aging male friend or family member who is unmarried and has no children. This man, also known as your “Uncle Marvin”, is getting older, lives alone, and is probably financially prepared for the remainder of his life. But he may be completely unprepared for the legal consequences of his aging.   Unlike his female counterparts, such as your Aunt May, Uncle Marvin and his male contemporaries are more likely to be emotionally isolated from other family members and socially separated from his community. In addition, our society still erroneously views men as competent, stoic loners who don’t require or desire our involvement with their lives. Even our health care and aging mechanisms are geared toward

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