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New York Legal Issues Blog

Considering trusts for real estate investments

Finding the right investment can take time. Many individuals may feel that it is right to invest in New York real estate, but they may not have the ability to get right into handling the transactions themselves. They may live out of the country or have little experience acting as a landlord. Fortunately, there are various options for real estate investments.

For a more hands-off approach, investing in real estate investment trusts could be a viable option to consider. There are two types of REITs, and the one that most suits a person's investment interests can depend on the goals they want their investments to achieve. Though both property REITs and mortgage REITs provide at least 90% of their revenue to the investors, each differs in the percentage they yield. Typically, property REITs have a lower percentage yield than mortgage REITs.

Standing and grounds for will contests

When New York residents believe that they did not get or will not get their owed property after a loved one's death, it can be a difficult situation to handle. In many cases, individuals may have anticipated an inheritance, only to find that the terms of the will are nothing like their loved ones had explained. In some cases, this type of scenario could warrant will contests.

In order to contest a will, an individual would need legal standing to do so. This means that not just any random person can contest another party's will. People with legal standing typically include beneficiaries named in the will, heirs eligible for property under intestate laws and beneficiaries named in a will created before the one submitted to the probate court. Without standing, a person cannot move forward with a claim.

International real estate purchases easier with the right help

Wanting to buy international property is a desire that many people around the globe have. You may have a particular interest in New York real estate, but as someone living outside the United States, you may not feel confident in your ability to purchase property in the state.

Fortunately, investing in foreign real estate is certainly an option for interested parties. You may have more obstacles to face than someone living in the area where you want to buy property, but it is not an impossible task. Plus, you can enlist local help to assist you throughout the process.

Undue influence can lead to will contests

Most people want to have the time and opportunity to grieve after a loved one's death. While many New York residents may have that chance, others may feel as if they must put those feelings on hold because concerns have arisen over the person's remaining estate. In some cases, will contests occur due to the belief that a loved one's will does not reflect the person's true intentions.

It was recently reported that this type of legal dispute is currently underway in another state. Apparently, a woman with an estate valued at over $32 million created a will in 2011 that effectively left the entirety of her estate to an employee at the retirement community where she lived. The woman died in 2017, and the executor of the estate filed the 2011 will with the court. The report did state that the beneficiary of this will stopped working at the retirement community in 2018.

Retiring abroad means updating estate planning documents

It is not unusual for people to want to spend their retirement years abroad or invest in foreign property for use whenever they please. Of course, this type of move requires a considerable amount of consideration and financial planning to ensure that important details are not overlooked. Additionally, New York residents looking to spend their later years abroad may want to make sure they keep estate planning in mind.

If parties are nearing their retirement years, it is likely that they have already created their estate plans. If they choose to move abroad, those plans need to be revisited. In particular, parties may want to pay attention to how their estates could be taxed both in the United States and in the country they later reside.

Aretha Franklin's sons file will contests over found documents

When New York family members have concerns over the contents of their loved ones' estate plans, it is not unusual for legal action to result. In some cases, will contests can help surviving family members ensure that any information in the documents reflects the true wishes of the deceased. It is also possible for such contests to arise when new documents are discovered. 

It was recently reported that this type of situation is currently affecting the estate of late singer Aretha Franklin. Apparently, three handwritten wills were discovered in Franklin's home, two of which were dated 2010 and another dated 2014. It was unclear who discovered these documents. Nonetheless, the personal representative for Franklin's estate presented the documents to legal counsel for the heirs, and now, proceedings are set to determine their validity.

Considering options for real estate investments

Making investments can often help New York residents earn extra income, and in many cases, their investments can prove lucrative. In particular, some parties may be interested in real estate investments, and this interest could help them in numerous ways. Of course, it is important to understand viable investment options, especially for those just getting started in this area.

One of the most common ways to invest in real estate is to purchase rental properties and become a landlord. The landlord will handle the affairs of the property itself while the tenant pays rent and occupies the space. However, if the landlord chooses to handle the affairs of the property personally, he or she may find that issues are constantly cropping up. Fortunately, a property owner could hire a property manager to handle problems that arise. The latter option may be especially useful to foreign investors who may not live near their rental property.

Collectibles and other items can create chaos at probate

Establishing an estate plan is an important but often overlooked step to take at any point in one's adult life. Like many, your parent may have started with a will or power of attorney then added to the plan as your family grew or when other changes in life's circumstances warranted a change. Your parent made sure to update the beneficiaries and trustees periodically, but did he or she protect those assets named in the will or funded to the trusts?

While it may not be difficult to keep track of investment accounts or real estate, other assets are not as easy to protect. When an estate includes unusual, portable or collectible items, the owner of the estate may have to take extra steps to ensure the items are still in the possession of the estate when it comes time to distribute them to the heirs.

Even with estate planning, sibling rivalry can cause issues

In a best-case scenario, a loved one would have left behind an estate plan for surviving family members to follow during probate. Of course, even careful estate planning may not always address every detail of an estate, or it may not account for the possibility of conflict among family members. As a result, it is possible for New York families to face probate disputes.

Though most people want their families to come together and feel close after a loved one's passing, that is not always what happens. Some individuals may have a keen focus on how the remaining property will be distributed. If siblings do not get along, certain details of the estate plan could increase the potential for strife. For instance, if a parent names one child as an executor or trustee and does not include another child, that appointment could cause conflict if the siblings are competitive.

Prince's estate still at center of probate litigation

After a loved one's passing, many surviving family members hope that the individual will be laid to rest and find some sort of peace. What this particular sentiment means can differ from person to person, but some New York residents may feel as if loved ones are still experiencing unrest if their final affairs have not been properly handled. A half-sister to the late musical artist Prince has expressed such sentiments as probate litigation over his estate continues

According to reports, Sharon Nelson believes that her half-brother is not resting in peace because Comerica Bank and Trust is mismanaging his remaining estate. The bank is the administrator of the estate, and Nelson believes that the estate will go bankrupt by the end of the year due to the actions of the financial institution. One issue mentioned in the report is the fact that the bank is paying $90,000 a month to store unreleased music in a vault.

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