Articles and audio on New York Probate

E191 3 Ways to Start Probate With No Upfront Fees

E191 3 Ways to Start Probate With No Upfront Fees


If you’ve done your research, you know that a good probate lawyer is not cheap. So how can you start your probate case even if you can’t pay now?

How much are probate attorney fees?

Lawyer fees for the simplest probate case start at $3,000. But probate is naturally messy, since is involves family, money, death, and high emotions.

So probate fees are usually more, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars!

source: https-::www.ft.com:content:14ea8e2a-0e47-11e7-a88c-50ba212dce4d

When to probate fees have to be paid?

Generally, lawyers require an upfront payment, or retainer, before starting work on your case. The upfront payment is usually a few thousand dollars, depending on the estimated total fees.

Many folks, understandably, just don’t have that money readily available, and ask “can probate fees be paid from the estate,” at the end?

Yes, but only under certain circumstance. Why? Because estates can be unpredictable, with many twists and turns. While you may feel certain that there’ll be plenty of funds to cover the lawyer fees, we’ve often seen:

  • Unexpected mortgages or debts
  • Unknown huge taxes due
  • Assets aren’t worth what you expected
  • Assets had a named beneficiary, and therefore not part of the estate

What to do if you can’t afford probate fees?

If you don’t have the cash on-hand to pay a lawyer’s retainer, here are some of your options to start your probate case now.

Deferred lawyer fee

Work with a lawyer who will accept a deferred fee (paid at the end, from the estate). If you’re able to find a lawyer to work with no upfront payment, expect some conditions.

For example, our office usually only accept deferred fee cases if you’ve also asked me to serve as your professional executor for the estate.

Contingent lawyer fee

Contingent fees are the ultimate “no win, no pay” arrangement. If your lawyer in unable to get your inheritance for you, then you don’t owe any fees. He only gets paid if he succeeds in getting your inheritance.

As you might expect, the trade-off is the fee will be higher than if you paid upfront: usually 1/3 of your recovered inheritance. But if you don’t have the cash to start your case otherwise, you’ll be glad this option even exists.

Contingent fee probate is limited to certain types of cases, such as:

  • Will contests
  • Proving kinship
  • Unknown assets

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E189 Can an Executor be Out-of-State?

E189 Can an Executor be Out-of-State?


No, it’s not a good idea to have an out-of-state executor. Although it’s technically legally allowed, in reality an out-of-state executor causes tons of problems.

Banking Problems

Opening the estate account

You probably think opening a bank account is a piece of cake. And you’d be right, if you were opening an account for yourself, personally.

bank kyc

But banking for an estate is a different animal. But an estate account has tougher “know your client” rules, and the executor often must meet with a banker in person, at a branch, to open an estate bank account.

Troubleshooting problems

When you have a problem with your personal bank account, these days you have limitless customer support options. Website, email, live chat, tweets, or call or walk in.

But with estates, you usually must walk into a branch and speak with a banker to get that missing statement or re-issue that 1099. And that can be a pain for an out-of-state executor.

Selling Real Estate

Clean out

Yes, cleaning out the home or apartment is part of the executor’s duties. For an out-of-state executor, this can mean several trips in and out of New York to supervise the clean out.

Closing

source: https-::www.c21redwood.rocks:blog:tag:highland-title

New York is one of the few states where most real estate closings are in-person, with all parties sitting around a table for a few hours.

Yes, it’s sometimes possible to close with an out-of-state executor by signing and FedEx-ing the documents. But if any problems popup (as they often do with estate sales), it’s better to close in-person, so the lawyers can troubleshoot any problems in realtime, and avoid an aborted closing.

Minor stuff (mail forward, etc.)

There are countless small executor tasks to get the home ready for sale. Forwarding the mail, small repairs, returning extra keys, conversations with the super, etc. All much easier to handle with a local, New York executor.

Travel restrictions

travel restrictions

Sometimes an executor simply cannot legally enter the US:

  • Unable to get a visa
  • Immigration problems
  • Quarantine or other travel restrictions

If any of these apply, the heirs may be better off hiring a New York professional executor, rather than a non-New York person.

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E182 3 Examples of How Co-Ops Are Worse (an Executor’s Perspective)

E182 3 Examples of How Co-Ops Are Worse (an Executor’s Perspective)


Most NYers know the deal with co-ops: they’s less expensive than condos, but they come with a lot of rules and headaches. Here are 3 real world examples:

  1. Last to unlock
  2. Quick to Sue
  3. Release of lien

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E180 Contingent Fee Probate

E180 Contingent Fee Probate


What do you do if you need a probate lawyer, but you don’t have the money now? Let’s talk about contingent fee probate.

  1. What are contingent fees?
  2. Some limitations
  3. Will contests
  4. Kinship
  5. Uncertain assets

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E175 Amateur Executor Bloopers

E175 Amateur Executor Bloopers


We’ll share a few real-world amateur executor bloopers (of course, anonymized to protect our clients’ privacy)

  1. Choosing a disappearing banker
  2. The case of the missing $10,000 check
  3. “Oh yeah, taxes!”

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How to Deal with Nightmare Tenants in Probate

E157 How to Deal with Nightmare Tenants in Probate


One bad tenant can blow up any real invest investment. Being a professional executor has shown me just how nightmarish a tenant can be.

We’ll discuss:

  1. Which estates have nightmare tenants?
  2. What are “nightmare tenants?”
  3. What to do about bad tenants?

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Why Does Probate Take So Long_ Tax Clearance

E155 Why Does Probate Take So Long? Tax Clearance


The second most common question about probate is: why does probate take so long? Lately, one of the biggest culprits is getting tax clearance.

We’ll discuss:

  1. Why tax clearance is so important
  2. Estate tax on the 1%
  3. The IRS and the Deceased’s 1040
  4. See you next April
  5. Don’t Forget form 5495!

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How to Avoid Rip Offs During Probate

E154 How to Avoid Rip Offs During Probate


So sad to watch when our clients get ripped off during probate. So we’re doing this episode to hopefully help you avoid getting taken.


We’ll cover:

  1. Examples of rip offs during probate
  2. Comparison shop
  3. Ask for referrals
  4. Choose an experienced probate attorney
  5. Hire an professional executor

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EXECUTOR. Thinking about hiring a professional executor for your loved one’s estate, or naming one in your will?

 

PROBATE, TRUSTS, ESTATES: Need a great attorney?

 

Send me a text message at 212-401-2990

Email me at executor (at) anthonyspark.com

Or visit https://anthonyspark.com

 

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5 Tips for Banking with Estates

E153 5 Tips for Banking with Estates


So you need an estate checking account. Sounds easy enough, right?

We’ll discuss:

  1. Forget online: go to a branch
  2. Not all branches are created equal
  3. Estate deposits
  4. Medallion guarantees
  5. Quid pro quo

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5 Mistakes With DIY Wills and Witnesses

E151 5 Mistakes With DIY Wills and Witnesses


I get that Do-it-Yourself is very tempting. But you may be creating HUGE problems for your heirs.

We’ll discuss:

  1. Witnesses names
  2. Witness addresses
  3. “Self-proving”
  4. Professional witnesses
  5. Court’s assumptions

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