A recent post to this blog titled You’ve Got (E-)Mail! Can Your Survivors Access It After Your Death?, discussed New York’s recently-enacted digital assets legislation, and Surrogate Mella’s decision in Matter of Serrano, regarding whether the fiduciary of a decedent’s estate had a statutory right to access his deceased spouse’s Google email, contacts
The fiduciary who thinks a receipt and release is the answer to all future claims for an accounting and liability may have a surprise in store. Over the past several months, Surrogates have explored the issue of receipts and releases, and have provided insight into just how far they will go to “save the day.” The New York County Surrogate’s Court’s recent decision in Matter of Ingraham is a case in point. Ilene Cooper discusses the decision in our latest post.
Continue Reading Releases: End of the Road or Just a New Beginning?
In Matter of Sinzheimer, the New York County Surrogate’s Court held that a corporate co-trustee that had been “removed” pursuant to the terms of the trust agreement was not required to deliver the trust’s assets to the sole individual trustee where the individual defied the instruction in the trust instrument to appoint a successor corporate co-trustee. The perceived objectivity on the part of the removed corporate trustee figured prominently in the Court’s decision sustaining its decision to withhold delivery of trust assets to the individual trustee until a new corporate trustee had been appointed. Brian Corrigan discusses the decision in our latest post.
Continue Reading Removed Corporate Trustee’s Refusal to Turn Over Trust Assets to Individual Trustee Was Prudent and Appropriate
E-mail is seemingly omnipresent. Yet, the improvements to the technology associated with e-mail have far outpaced the development of the law concerning our e-mail accounts and the rights that our survivors may have to access those accounts upon our deaths. In this post, Robert Harper addresses New York’s recently-enacted digital assets legislation, as well as Surrogate Mella’s decision in Matter of Serrano, which appears to be the first reported case to apply that legislation.
Continue Reading You’ve Got (E-)Mail! Can Your Survivors Access It After Your Death?
As parties prepare for trial before the Surrogate’s Court, a question that oftentimes arises is whether there is a right to a trial by jury. In this entry, Robert Harper explains why no such right exists in the case of proceedings concerning the removal of a fiduciary.
Continue Reading Jury Trials in Surrogate’s Court Removal Proceedings
Although one of the many duties of an executor is to marshal and appraise estate assets, and, depending on the terms of the governing instrument, liquidate them for purposes of distribution, the fulfillment of these duties may, at times, result in fiduciary liability. That was the case Matter of Billmyer, a recent decision emanating from the Second Department. Ilene Cooper discusses the decision in our latest entry.
Continue Reading Fiduciary Imprudence: When the Sale of an Asset Results in a Surcharge
A nominated executor is obliged to secure estate assets even before the issuance of letters testamentary. But what if the nominated executor expends personal funds to preserve assets that she erroneously believed to belong to the estate? Is she entitled to reimbursement? The Oneida County Surrogate’s Court recently addressed this situation in Matter of Timpano. Brian Corrigan discusses the case in our latest entry.
Continue Reading Executor’s Duties Before Receiving Letters
A recent decision of the Kings County Surrogate’s Court demonstrates the importance of thoroughly analyzing all aspects of a statute of limitations defense prior to making a dismissal motion. In Matter of Coiro, the court denied such a motion, determining that a turnover proceeding was timely. Notably, the parties disputed both the applicable limitations period and the date of the claim’s accrual. Side-stepping both those issues, the court determined that a statutory toll rendered the claim timely . Eric Penzer discusses the decision in our latest entry.
Continue Reading Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Turnover Proceeding as Time Barred
A recent decision of the Richmond County Surrogate’s Court addressed a frequently litigated issue in Surrogate’s Court litigation – – whether the proposed or nominated fiduciary should be disqualified from serving in a fiduciary capacity on the grounds of “dishonesty” or “improvidence.” In the Estate of George Mathai a familiar dynamic was in play –…
A donor writes in a pledge amount, signs the pledge card, hands it over to the charity, and is absolutely committed to that amount; end of story, right? Not necessarily. A recent case emanating from Kings County Surrogate’s Court, Matter of Issac Kramer, shows that certain charitable pledges may not be as binding as they appear on paper. Spencer Reames discusses the decision in our latest entry.
Continue Reading Charitable Pledges: Not Found Money, You Have to Earn Them