New York Estate Planning News - Find a NY Estate Attorney

Wrongful Death and Estates in New York

A wrongful death occurs when a person is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another individual, company or entity. The decedent’s immediate family is usually given the right to file an action for wrongful death. The most common members are surviving spouses and children, but parents may sometimes sue. A suit for wrongful death may only be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.

Every state, including New York, has a civil “wrongful death statute” which establishes the procedures for bringing wrongful death actions. If you believe the death of a loved one was wrongful, you should consider seeking the advice of an experienced New York estate planning attorney. They can assess your case and provide advice on how to proceed with a wrongful death action, if applicable.

Recently in Wrongful Death and Estates Category

Can Jenni Rivera's Letter Be Treated Like a Will?

Fans of Latin American music and TV know the name Jenni Rivera. The singer-actress died in a plane crash in Mexico last month. She was 43 years old.

While fans will remember Rivera for her life accomplishments, her estate may be the subject of controversy, writes Forbes. Rivera was married three times. Her third marriage was about to end in divorce at the time of her death.

She left behind no will, but rather a letter with detailed instructions. But will Jenni Rivera's letter hold up in court?

How To Avoid Messy Inheritance Disputes

When it comes to property inheritance disputes, the death of a loved one can send real estate holdings into legal mayhem without proper planning, almost as much as cases that involve a sticky divorce.

Many New York estate planning attorneys have come across a number of complicated property disputes, such as whether a new wife should inherit the home where the first family was raised, or if a home inherited by four siblings should be sold if only one wants to sell it.

What about the daughter who decided to live with and care for her mother, should she be permitted to live in the house after her mother's death?

Joseph Flom Gives Most Of His Estate To Charity

As some New York locals may have heard, well-known former attorney Joseph Flom, who was the last living named partner of the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom, passed away in February at the age of 87. Flom's estate is calculated "to be in the low nine figures," although much of it remains to be arranged properly.

But Flom's will, which was filed in Manhattan Surrogate's Court, stated most of the former lawyer's estate will be given to charity, according to The Am Law Daily. The Flom Family Foundation was listed as his biggest beneficiary and expected to receive whichever is less: $50 million or half of his estate.

Timecard Machine Sorts Through Online Memories After Death

While some people will help sort through the personal belongings of a loved one after his or her death, many might inadvertently forget the importance of also arranging the digital affairs and property of that deceased person.

We live in a generation where millions of people share a large part of their lives online, whether through status updates on Facebook, pictures on Flickr, or videos on YouTube. So after death, what happens to all the personal information that many New York locals may leave in the digital world?

The Elizabeth Taylor Estate Could Reach $1 Billion

The estate of Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor, who died at the age of 79, has continued to increase in value and is currently worth between $600 million and $1 billion, according to CBS News. Yet some New York fans may be surprised to hear that the former actress' business, Liz Taylor, has contributed to most of her fortune.

"This was an entrepreneur," said Diane Brady, the senior editor of Bloomberg Businessweek. "So it wasn't just an actress who amassed a fortune. She was one of the first people out there basically branding her personality."

Putting it All Together: Storing Important Documents Before You Die

When it comes to estate planning, having a select place to store important documents, like bills and personal records, can come in handy for New York locals in helping their heirs settle their estates after death without having to search and sift through mounds of paperwork.

Karin Price Mueller, for instance, writes in SecondAct that she has a special place in her home where she stores all her important paperwork in what she calls the "When I'm Dead" file. As the "primary bill payer, record keeper and investor" in the family, Mueller has assumed the task of organizing her family's documents where her husband or children can easily find what they need in the event she passes away.

Sir George Shearing's Estranged Daughter Plans To Contest the Will

Wendy Peterson, the estranged daughter of blind British pianist Sir George Shearing, plans to fight for a portion of her father’s estate after having been left out of his will. Contactmusic News reported that Peterson, who is Shearing’s daughter from his first marriage, has been estranged from her father for more than 10 years and blames her step-mother, Ellie, for the rift.

According to the New York Post, Shearing died from congestive heart failure on February 14 at the age of 91. Peterson said that she and Shearing “always had a great relationship.” But after Shearing and Peterson’s mother divorced “and then he met Ellie, she alienated him from me, my kids … I haven’t spoken to him in 12 years.”

Michael Jackson's Estate Earns Millions Since Death

As some New Yorkers may have heard, the estate of pop music icon Michael Jackson has earned more than $310 million since his death in June 2009. His estate administrators were able to pay off most of his debt by negotiating deals for new music albums, the movie “This Is It,” and video games like “Michael Jackson The Experience.”

But CBS News reported a filing in Jackson’s probate case revealed he died with over $400 million in debt while an additional $159 million was spent between June 2009 and December 2010. Court records show that Jackson’s extravagant spending in the past still requires lawyers to develop new financial deals and sort out his old debts.

Same-Sex Marriages: The Fight Over Sarah Ellyn Farley's Estate

Whether or not a couple’s marriage is considered valid can have a large effect on the distribution of his or her estate in any jurisdiction, including New York. While same-sex marriage is not allowed in the state, all state agencies are required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

However, not all states view same-sex marriages that were legally performed elsewhere as valid. Jennifer Tobits, a Chicago resident, is currently caught in a legal battle in Pennsylvania’s federal court with the parents of her late wife, Sarah Ellyn Farley. Since Farley’s death in September, The ABA Journal reported both parties have been disputing who will receive the proceeds from Farley’s profit-sharing account.

The New Estate Planning: What's In Cyberspace After Your Death?

Most people shudder at the mere thought of having to plan for their own or a loved one's death. Personal belongings and financial assets are often planned for when it comes to arranging a person's estate and transferring property. However, many of us might forget to include what we do online and how our digital affairs should be handled after we are gone.

Only about a third of Americans have a will, but The New York Times writes that even fewer individuals have thought about sorting out the digital things they may also leave behind. Even if what we do in cyberspace is not physically tangible, most of us leave a part of who we are online - from pictures on Facebook, to personal thoughts shared on a blog.