Scott learned estate practice from his father and has taken it to whole new level. He has represented hundreds of executors, trustees, and beneficiaries. He is efficient and detail-oriented. These are strengths because this area of the law can be technical and has enormous income and estate tax consequences. Scott understands that clients infrequently encounter estates and want them settled as quickly as possible.
With the heartache of death comes the job of administering the loved one's estate. All assets may have been in joint name or payable to named beneficiaries, in which case there is no real estate to administer. On the other hand, the loved one may have been very secretive about his or her affairs which turn out to be quite extensive and quite messy. In between lays the "normal" estate consisting of $100,000 or more of assets, some debts, a will to be probated, tax returns to be prepared, and communications with sundry parties. You are thrust into this estate, as a spouse or a child, and others may be looking to you for action. Being new to the experience yourself maybe, you need assistance.
The person to consult is Scott. If necessary, he will work quickly to have the will probated. Probate is the first significant step in the administration of an estate. It results in a decree that appoints as executor usually the person nominated in the will. Once appointed, the executor can plot a strategy for administering the estate with Scott. Many of the tasks, such as opening up an estate checking account and paying bills out of it, can be performed by the executor without Scott's assistance. Other tasks, such as the preparation of the income tax returns, take the input of both the executor and Scott. In large estates, over $1 million, the most significant task is preparing the estate tax return. Scott will take the lead on this task.
Everybody asks how long must an estate stay open. State law mandates a minimum of seven months from the appointment of the executor. Estates filing estate tax returns may be open 18-24 months awaiting the closing letters from the IRS and the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. While you wait, the executor can make partial distributions to the beneficiaries, provided all debts, expenses, and taxes have been paid or otherwise provided for. Again, Scott can work with the executor to develop a distribution plan.
If you are a beneficiary of an estate or a trust, you may want Scott to review the conduct of the executor or the trustee. When the estate or trust closes, the executor or the trustee will ask you to sign a waiver approving the conduct. If you have objections, you need to raise them at that time or sooner. Later you will be barred from complaining. Scott can tell you whether you have a case.