Estate & Trust Administration Law

When a person dies, his or her estate (all property and rights owned at the time of death) is administered by a fiduciary, either the Executor designated in the decedent’s Will or, if the decedent had no Will, a family member appointed by the court to serve as Administrator, under the supervision of a court known in New York as the Surrogate’s Court. Our attorneys practicing in this area advise the fiduciary of the estate regarding the duties of the fiduciary and assist the fiduciary in performing various tasks including:

  • Applying to the court to probate the Will, if there is one, and seeking authorization to act as Executor or Administrator
  • Identifying, locating and collecting all assets of the estate
  • Filing the decedent’s income tax returns for the year of death
  • Paying decedent’s debts and funeral expenses and the expenses of administering the estate
  • Preparing and filing estate tax and fiduciary income tax returns, if required
  • Selling estate assets to the extent necessary to convert them to cash
  • Distributing the remaining estate assets to the appropriate beneficiaries
  • Preparing an accounting to demonstrate to the court and the beneficiaries that the fiduciary properly performed the fiduciary’s duties

Either while alive or upon death pursuant to a Will, a person may place some or all of his assets in a trust to be administered by a fiduciary known as a trustee. Our attorneys practicing in this area advise the trustee regarding the duties of the trustee and assist the trustee in performing various tasks including:

  • Having title to the trust assets transferred to the trust
  • Preparing and filing fiduciary income tax returns, if required
  • Appropriately administering the trust including paying out any income to beneficiaries pursuant to the terms of the trust
  • Upon termination of the trust, distributing the remaining estate assets to the appropriate beneficiaries
  • Preparing an accounting to demonstrate to the beneficiaries and, if appropriate, to a court that the trustee properly performed the trustee’s duties. Our attorneys practicing in this area are also available to represent an individual beneficiary of an estate or trust to assure that the beneficiary receives what the beneficiary is entitled to receive pursuant to the terms of the Will or trust document and in accordance with all applicable laws.

Please feel free to contact any of our attorneys who engage in this practice: