Wills and Probate


Estate PlanningA will contains instructions as to how property and assets are to be distributed after the death of an individual. Creation of a will is a good idea for adults of all ages. The White Plains probate lawyers at Klose & Associates are happy to work with your family to plan your succession issues. A will can cover property distribution and contains names of people you would like to distribute this property to. The people names in the will are known as the beneficiaries. Property can include your homes, vehicles, land, benefits of insurance policies, bank accounts, boats, furniture, and investments including artwork, jewelry, etc.

Probate and Estate Administration

When a family has just suffered the loss of a loved one it is faced with hard decisions when it is most difficult to make them. Your choice of Klose & Associates to assist you in settling the estate’s affairs should add clarity, efficiency and peace of mind to the guiding the settlement of your loved one’s estate through settlement and probate proceedings. Klose & Associates works with the family to demystify New York’s sometimes difficult probate procedures, laws and rules. Only through aggressive representation and compassionate care will your family ease the tension in this difficult situation.

Why Hire a Probate Attorney in the White Plains Area?

The responsibility of who will administer the estate is usually set forth in the Last Will and Testament, and is called the executor. If you are appointed as the fiduciary (Executor/ix or Administrator) of an estate, you are under a legal obligation to settle the decedent’s estate in a timely manner, and for the benefit of those taking under the will.

A fiduciary is someone who is legally responsibility (liable) for taking care of the property of another person, for the benefit of that person. Society, the courts, and your family must trust that person to be accountable and manage the affairs in an ethical, legal and moral way. If the fiduciary fails, litigation normally results. The repercussions of mishandling the affairs or breaching that loyalty to the estate can be especially severe, and result in personal liability. Accordingly, discussing your fiduciary obligations with a White Plains probate attorney is one of the first topics you should familiarize yourself with. If that attorney does one thing, it should be to protect the executor from legal and financial liability.

When a person dies without a will, courts refer to that as dying “intestate.” When this happens, a fiduciary is needed to wind up the estate in accordance with the local law or statute, and is called an “administration.” During the administration, the fiduciary will allocate the property (both real and personal) following the statutory breakdowns for parents, children, uncles, and even grandparents of the decedent.

When money and death are involved, the fiduciary needs to hire competent attorneys to advise them how to allocate the assets of the estate, pay the estate’s bills and wind up the affairs of the person’s life.

Property and assets titled jointly with others, or in the name of a trust often do not pass “through the estate” and are not probated, often resulting in greater privacy and lower administrative costs. Hiring a probate lawyer in White Plains to understand the often complex lives of the decedent will often speed the distribution of those assets that do pass through the estate to the beneficiary.

Tackling the administration of the Estate should not be painful or overly burdensome if you hire an ethical attorney interested in a fair settlement of the affairs. The adverse consequences financially, legally, financially, and emotionally, too high. Contact Peter Klose to save you time, money, and stress. Klose & Associates will pull you through.

Frequently Asked Questions
What Does the Term “Fiduciary” Mean?

A fiduciary is a person who is legally responsible for taking care of the property of another person, for the benefit of that person. To learn more about Wills, trusts, and other estate terminology continue reading here. The fiduciary manage the affairs of that person in an ethical, legal and moral way. If the fiduciary acts improperly, whether through neglect, theft, or incompetence, litigation normally results. Mishandling the affairs of that person or breaching the loyalty to an estate can be severe and result in personal liability. If you have been appointed to act as a fiduciary of an estate, you should discuss your fiduciary obligations with a probate attorney. The attorney will guide the executor and protect the executor from legal and financial liability.

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What if I Cannot Find the Will Drafted by my Mother or Father?

An original is always better than a copy. In the context of wills and estate probate, the original is generally required. To read about this issue in further detail, check out this blog post by Peter Klose: What to do with a Lost Original Will in New York.

Is it possible to offer a copy of a decedent’s will to probate in New York? Yes, it is possible for a copy of a decedent’s will to be offered for probate in New York in limited circumstances. The administrator or executor must establish the following: (1) the will was not revoked; (2) execution of the will was proved in the manner required for the probate of an original will; and (3) all provisions of the will are clearly and distinctly proven by each of at least two credible witnesses or by a copy of the will proved to be true and complete. See New York Surrogate Court Practice Act § 1407.

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What Happens to a Person’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and Other Social Media When They die?

Most social media sites will not give your account information to anyone in an effort to protect your privacy. However, after your death, certain people may be able to cancel your account. For an interesting read, check out this blog post by Peter Klose FB, Linkedin, Social Profiles and death in New York and on the internet. Facebook’s policy permits “memorializing” deceased users’ accounts, allowing only confirmed friends to see the deceased user’s profile and post on their page. Facebook will not provide login information to anyone, but allows immediate family members to request the removal of a deceased user’s account. Twitter has a similar policy allowing family members or other “authorized” persons to deactivate a deceased user’s account but will not provide login information. LinkedIn also allows family members or other survivors to close an account upon satisfactory verification of a user’s death. Email providers, such as Gmail, will allow authorized persons to access the deceased user’s email account upon a lengthy verification process, such as obtaining a Court Order directing Google to disclose account information.

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Client Reviews
Thanks Peter. In a very short time, you have successfully removed all of our stereotypical thoughts of lawyers. You are thorough, insightful, effective and you were ALWAYS right there when we needed your wisdom. Ed and Maureen H Poughquag, New York
As part-time residents of Dutchess County, my wife Gloria and I are delighted to have found a local attorney who can thoughtfully and capably deal with all our legal issues. His invaluable and responsive insight has been refreshing. Bob Fox, Cook + Fox Architects, Rhinebeck
Peter Klose handled my Will, Living Will & Health Care Proxy. Peter was VERY easy to work with... he is knowledgeable, answered all my questions clearly and concisely, was sensitive to my situation, and expeditious in handling my legal needs. Anonymous
When I looked for a lawyer in New York to help me close that on the house in Harrison, I looked high and wide. I chose you. There were folks I knew from my hometown, there were family members, others. I didn't choose them. You were the one who was the selected representative for lawyers on the ethics committee. And you carried on in your father's stead... Susan F.