We have answered many of the common, and not so common questions we’ve been asked over the years about Probate, Trusts, Wills and other Estate Planning matters….right here on this website.

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Since trusts are not part of the public records, the only persons entitled to copies of a trust instrument are beneficiaries. A beneficiary could make a request that the trustee provide a third party with a copy, but the trustee does not necessarily have to comply. The trustee has the discretion to decide who gets a copy and under what circumstances.

By law, the trustee is supposed to notify each beneficiary of their interest in the trust after the decedent passes away. If you are a beneficiary and have not received a copy of the trust, there may be legitimate reasons why the trustee failed to send you a copy such as not having your current address or contact information. So if you are a beneficiary and you want to review a trust which was established for your benefit, you can write or call the trustee and make a request. If you believe that you are an heir to a trust, but you are not sure if you have been included as a beneficiary under the trust, you could still make a request, but the trustee may not give you a copy without a court order. There is also the possibility of obtaining a copy of a trust from another beneficiary by asking that person to provide you with a copy.

Legal Remedies

Since the trustee must legally provide all beneficiaries with a copy of the trust instrument, if the trustee fails to do so, the beneficiary has legal recourse to file an action with the Nassau County or Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court to obtain a court order compelling the trustee to provide a copy of the trust to the beneficiary. Typically in such a situation, the beneficiary will hire a Long Island trust attorney to assist with filing the complaint and representing the beneficiary in Court.

A beneficiary or other interested party can also contest the validity of the trust by making a claim that the trust is invalid. In order to do so, the person making the claim must have sufficient grounds. Grounds that the Court would consider sufficient include duress, fraud, coercion, undue influence, forgery, the decedent was mentally incompetent at the time of making the trust, the trust did not follow the legal formalities required under New York law. The Court will hear testimony and review any relevant documents in making its determination.

Long Island Estate Attorney

Long Island estate matters concerning trusts and wills can be quite complex. If you are a party to trust or will and wish to receive a copy of the documents, or you need to make a claim against the estate, it is recommended that you hire a competent and knowledgeable Long Island estate attorney to assist you.

If you wish to speak to a Long Island estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (516) 777-0647.


What Are the Rights of Surviving Heirs in a Long Island Estate?

April 3, 2014

A Long Island decedent’s heirs such as the decedent’s children, surviving spouse, parents, siblings, grand children, aunts, uncles and cousins may have an interest in claiming an inheritance in the decedent’s estate. Depending upon whether the decedent left a will or died intestate (without a will) will determine the rights of surviving heirs to inherit [...]

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Who Should You Use to Witness Your Will?

April 1, 2014

New York law requires that you use two witnesses over the age of 18 years who are deemed mentally competent to witness your Long Island will. The witnesses should not be beneficiaries to the will or the attorney preparing the will to avoid any conflicts of interest that another interested party could claim invalidates your [...]

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How Does a Pour Over Will Work?

March 13, 2014

When you make a will and/or trust disposing of your Long Island estate assets, you may want to think about making a pour over will at the same time. A pour-over will is prepared in conjunction with a trust and allows for the transfer of any assets that you may hold in your sole name [...]

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How Can I Act as an Executor Before Letters Testamentary Have Been Granted to Me?

February 28, 2014

After a Long Island decedent passes away, and the decedent’s will has been located, the executor appointed in the will can file a Petition for Probate with the Nassau County or Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court asking the Court to issues preliminary letters and appointment as temporary administrator of the decedent’s estate before letters testamentary are [...]

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How Does a No-Contest Clause Work in a Long Island Will?

December 27, 2013

If a beneficiary is getting less then they would have gotten if not for this will (i.e. by intestacy or under a prior will), there’s always a chance that they will challenge the will. Furthermore, anyone with an interest in your Long Island estate can contest the will if they have the standing. While not [...]

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What Happens if an Heir Dies Before the Maker of the Will on Long Island?

December 16, 2013

Most people assume that their heirs will outlive them and usually leave assets to younger heirs. However, there are unforeseen circumstances when a beneficiary may pass away before the maker of a will. Under New York laws, if the maker of a will survives an heir, the New York anti-lapse statute provides that the gift [...]

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How Do I Sign as a Power of Attorney in Long Island?

December 10, 2013

In order to obtain legal authority to sign on behalf of another person, the principal (person giving you authority) must sign a Power of Attorney authorizing you to act as their attorney-in-fact or agent. The principal of the Power of Attorney can give you broad or narrow powers. A power of attorney is generally given [...]

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Determining the Value of a Long Island Estate

November 29, 2013

The personal representative of a Long Island decedent’s estate is responsible for compiling a list of the decedent’s assets. This should be done as soon as possible after the decedent’s death. The personal representative can look to the will or trust documents in order to determine most of the decedent’s assets. However, checking the decedent’s [...]

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Distributing a Long Island Decedent’s Assets

November 22, 2013

The size of the estate and the type of assets must be taken into consideration. A larger estate means there will be more assets.  Part of the executor’s job is to make a list and accounting of estate assets to determine the value of the estate. Locating assets may take some time if the decedent [...]

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