legal-inhertance issue
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legal-inhertance issue (by Carl [NY]) Feb 23, 2021 9:32 AM
       legal-inhertance issue (by S i d [MO]) Feb 23, 2021 9:45 AM
       legal-inhertance issue (by Jim in O C [CA]) Feb 23, 2021 9:48 AM
       legal-inhertance issue (by Frank [NJ]) Feb 23, 2021 9:49 AM
       legal-inhertance issue (by razorback_tim [AR]) Feb 23, 2021 9:58 AM
       legal-inhertance issue (by Carl [NY]) Feb 23, 2021 10:44 AM
       legal-inhertance issue (by Nicole [PA]) Feb 23, 2021 10:48 AM
       legal-inhertance issue (by Robert J [CA]) Feb 23, 2021 11:56 AM
       legal-inhertance issue (by myob [GA]) Feb 23, 2021 12:27 PM
       legal-inhertance issue (by Kim [TX]) Feb 23, 2021 1:39 PM
       legal-inhertance issue (by S i d [MO]) Feb 23, 2021 2:17 PM
       legal-inhertance issue (by don [PA]) Feb 23, 2021 2:19 PM
       legal-inhertance issue (by Zakhd [CT]) Feb 25, 2021 7:13 PM
       legal-inhertance issue (by George [NJ]) Mar 1, 2021 7:45 AM
       legal-inhertance issue (by John... [MI]) Mar 1, 2021 10:12 AM
       legal-inhertance issue (by John... [MI]) Mar 1, 2021 10:14 AM
       legal-inhertance issue (by WMH [NC]) Mar 1, 2021 10:24 AM

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legal-inhertance issue (by Carl [NY]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 9:32 AM

okay, I did not list this as off-topic as I think it certainly could apply to all of us sometime especially if we owned properties.Anyway a cousin of mine recently died, he did not have a whole lot of assets and owned a rather broken down house but since it was on a Lakeshore, it increased its value somewhat. He also had about $10,000 in savings. Well he left a handwritten will of sorts saying that he wanted his partner of 16 years to essentially inherit everything. That is fine with me as I think she certainly deserves it being with him so long. Most of my other family members feel the same way except one brother who thinks that property should be split by all of us. Apparently $5000 was used to pay for the funeral

The lady seems to be a sweet and decent person but very simple.she went to a lawyer who said the written note was not valid and essentially he died intestate. I don't know the qualifications of this lawyer but I do remember going to a seminar about contracts. This was put on by a top lawyer who argued contracts for a large legal office. I remember he said that if you write a contract on a blackboard and sign it and nobody erases it is considered valid....not sure that this applies to Wills but I imagine it would. He also said since this is happened in New York State that there is no common law, but I don't see what that has to do with anything. Can you not write a will and leave your assets to anybody?

I think the thing is to prove that he wrote it.( I guess that's what's happening with Larry King right now.) So I think in Larry King's situation they are consider taking it to somewhat like a forensic handwriting expert that he wrote it.

That brother that I referred to is also the executor. No one else wants anything to do with the property and they all feel that the lady deserves the house and any other assets.

Although I have property in NYS, I really live two states away so can't help very much other than telling the one niece who is trying to fix this that she,should tell this long term partner that she should talk to another lawyer. My Niece says she's reluctant because he has almost no money and was laid off for the COVIT stuff and doesn't look like she'll be rehired.I/most of us do not want to see her cut out.

Any ideas on this ?

legal-inhertance issue (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 9:45 AM

Spend $200 and buy an hour of time talking to a legit Estate attorney. Hearsay and internet research may not apply to your specific scenario. Estate law varies by state, so what flies in Missouri won't necessarily in NY.

Generally speaking, during probate the judge will look at the state's law and use that as a guideline in the absence of any other direction. The handwritten letter does provide some guidance, but as you said it could easily be contested. One thing I do know that is highly recommended is to have any Will notarized. That pretty well settles the authenticity, although it can still be challenged.

If all else fails, you might just have the estate appraised and give the brother/executor "his share" and then give the rest to the partner. That might avoid a lengthy and expensive court battle that drains more resources than it preserves.

I've seen in my own extended family where people no longer talk to each other....over an estate worth less than $50,000. Pitiful. Money brings out the weird in people.

legal-inhertance issue (by Jim in O C [CA]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 9:48 AM

I don't know about New York but a holographic (hand written) will is valid in California. The partner should check with another lawyer. My guess is intestate will bring more legal fees. Not that I don't trust lawyers but I don't trust lawyers. --89.45.xx.xx

legal-inhertance issue (by Frank [NJ]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 9:49 AM

I have had some probate experience, contested as well

First of all these things are very state specific. You may want to Google 'holographic wills in NY State". As an Executor is in place they control, and he may be following the Estate lawyers advice as the division of assets. Too, he must have been approved as Executor by the Probate Court.

The heirs could sell and provide their shares to the girlfriend.

Exec could be taking the easy way out by dividing tween heirs.

Can the GF be reasonably expected to hold on to the property?

Good luck with it all.

legal-inhertance issue (by razorback_tim [AR]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 9:58 AM

I followed Frank's suggestion and googled 'holographic wills in NY State.' Here is what was at the top of the page: "In New York State, nuncupative and holographic wills are only recognized when they are made by: A member of the United States armed forces who serves during a war or other conflict. In this case, the will may be valid up to a year after the person has been discharged from the armed forces." If this is true, then it appears that the attorney your cousin's partner talked to is correct. Here is where to find the article: --70.178.x.xx

legal-inhertance issue (by Carl [NY]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 10:44 AM

Looking further into this I believe its correct,.in NYS the handwritten will is considered invalid, I guess we will have to inherit the property and sell it to her for a dollar or similar QUESTION: Will getting this cause a tax situation?

BTW thank everyone that has replied,..VERY appreciated

legal-inhertance issue (by Nicole [PA]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 10:48 AM

absolutely state specific and requires an experienced lawyer. Several hundred now may save thousands later.

I have a relative in New York who told me if he removes the staple from his Will that it's no longer valid. I told him he's full of it. Doesn't matter because he won't remove the staple.

In Pennsylvania, notarizing only eliminates the witnesses from having to sign an oath when the will gets probated. I believe California recommends Wills NOT be notarized.

Here, you can probate a tissue paper, carbon copy of an unsigned Will. You can probate a signed napkin. Anything. All potential heirs receive notice and can dispute if they wish.

Again, VERY state specific. The lady either needs to pay for a second opinion (perhaps there is a lawyer who will give an initial free consult and agree to his fee coming out at the end if he's correct) or perhaps the other relatives will all pitch in for her initial consult.

I agree with the above where individual heirs can gift their share to her down the road.

The reason none of us can really help - the post above appears to say only military can have an oral or hand written will ... but looking at the prior section, that's not true. A lawyer is definitely needed.

legal-inhertance issue (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 11:56 AM

When it comes to money, I'm so disappointed with people and inheritances. Often those who should inherent don't.

If you have a sample of the persons handwriting, an expert can determine if the will is real. Second if they lived together for 16 years and the person expressed to other family members that he wanted her to get everything, that is almost better than a written will. Together they prove where the assets were designed to go.

Since the estate is so small, Mr. Greedy executor should NOT BE ALLOWED to use the Estate's money to defend his position that he gets a share of the property. Make him pay for that!

legal-inhertance issue (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 12:27 PM

gee's it always seems to come down to paying a lawyer doesn't it.

IF and this is a big if-- the person wrote a note leaving the estate to his partner--- my gosh what's all the hubbub?

Oh that 's right NY state says this and that--- how about its the right thing to do?

With that all said-- after 16 years (and it's probable only 7) they are considered common law.

legal-inhertance issue (by Kim [TX]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 1:39 PM

Also check out NY state inheritance tax. In PA, I think I paid 12% sibling inheritance tax for my brother's estate.

legal-inhertance issue (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 2:17 PM

It costs money to get it done right and keep up to date with changing family situations and laws. Sure, DIY if you like and are willing to invest the time to study up, but as with all things stinky/messy (such as sewer pipes and estates), I prefer to let a professional handle it.

legal-inhertance issue (by don [PA]) Posted on: Feb 23, 2021 2:19 PM

What makes a valid will varies by state law. However, the document would have to show dispositive intent. That is, an indication that the deceased wanted his assets to be transferred in a certain way when he died. In Penna., a will can be handwritten (in a way it is even stronger because the argument cannot be made that the testator was not fully aware of what he was signing) and need not be witnesses at the time of signing. I used to be a probate clerk, and the older clerks told me that a guy was dying, sick in bed, and wrote out his wishes on the wall. The heirs cut the wallboard out and brought it in for probate, and it was accepted.

legal-inhertance issue (by Zakhd [CT]) Posted on: Feb 25, 2021 7:13 PM

The will is probably not valid especially if it wasn't witnessed. Depends on the legal requirements of a will in NY. Also, it doesn't sounds like there is a lot in the estate so there really is not going to be any taxes. The siblings will probably get the stepped up basis on the property. Does the gf want the house or does she want cash to have a new life? If brother executor wants to sell to cash out, there are going to be issues. Can the gf buy him out? Have brother open the estate and judge can decide.

legal-inhertance issue (by George [NJ]) Posted on: Mar 1, 2021 7:45 AM

This situation always amazes me and unfortunately is all too common. From the rich and famous to regular and even poor folks not planning for their earthly end, even though the end comes to us all, it's not a surprise.

legal-inhertance issue (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Mar 1, 2021 10:12 AM

myob: NYS doesn't recognize common-law marriages, so how long they have been together doesn't matter as far as legality goes.

legal-inhertance issue (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Mar 1, 2021 10:14 AM

George: Agreed. It's weird that people don't make wills "just in case."

My wife and I are fairly young (in our 40s) and healthy. We don't even have kids! And we STILL made a will before going on our last cruise "just in case." We wanted to make it clear where things should go.

Everyone thinks they are going to live forever, I guess.


legal-inhertance issue (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Mar 1, 2021 10:24 AM

NY is awful. My DH's father's first cousin died at 93 or something like that. She had a will leaving everything 50/50 to him and another cousin. No children. Simple? NO. Both cousins had died and now the assets were split between my DH, his sister and the cousin's son. Okay still fine.

BUT it took over a year to probate that will. Essentially had to prove negatives: that she never had a child she might have given up, that she had no other cousins that she should have mentioned, blah blah blah. It was awful. Her chosen executor handled it but she had me digging through family bibles, communion records, graveyard photos, etc.

Oh well eventually we all got checks. Thanks, Cousin!

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