The Legal Dos and Don’ts of Real Estate

A well-maintained house surrounded by greenery

Buying and owning property is mostly an exciting and fulfilling life experience. The only aspects of it that can feel dry and boring are the legal ones, which include everything from drawing up the initial deed to including it in your final will to be passed on after your death.

Of all the things you include in your estate plan—life insurance, bank accounts, jewelry, art/collectibles, investments, and furniture—the most important is your property, be it a residential house or a vacation home, or even a rental property. For your loved ones to enjoy these the same even after your death, you need to make sure all the legalities are in place.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while handling real estate:

DO: Place the Vacation Home in A Revocable Trust

If you want the next generation to truly enjoy the vacation home without carrying the baggage of legalities and responsibilities they didn’t exactly sign up for, placing it in a trust should help.

Firstly, it would escape lengthy probate. Secondly, you can specify exactly how you want the vacation home to be used and maintained during and after your life with a trust. And most importantly, with smart estate planning—we’re talking Qualified Personal Residence Trust, of course—you could also save estate tax significantly.

A vacation home near a lake

DON’T: Skip Out on A Will

Making a will may seem like a hassle, especially because it isn’t really necessary to pass down real estate. However, legal experts highly recommend it because it makes the whole process ever so easier.

Without a will, your property will still get passed on to your immediate heirs and relatives based on the law in your state, but in case you want a say in who ends up with what exactly, making a will is the only way to do it.

Through a will, you can keep the property from being split up, divide it the way you wish, or even pass it down to someone outside the family.

DO: Get A Property Lawyer on Board

From the moment you purchase the property to the time of your death, you need professional expertise on how to go about its legal paperwork in order to keep things streamlined.

There are many different kinds of deeds, and you may not know the ins and outs of each kind, so having a property lawyer to reviews and prepare the deed with you is a good step. Similarly, when you’re including your real estate in the estate plan, you need to have legal counsel to ensure that the property can pass on to your loved ones with minimal legal hurdles after your death.

So, if you’re in the process of creating an estate plan, get the experts on board.

We’re a real property law firm Queens, and our Estate lawyer Queens  can help make complicated legal procedures easier for you.

Get in touch with us to learn more about our legal services.

Why You Can’t Sleep on Estate Planning

A person working on some documents

If you ask a person what they want to be remembered for when they’re gone, they’re most likely to say something sentimental like the memories of their loved ones or the legacy they’re leaving behind in the form of their children or their life’s work. But let’s be real. Continue reading “Why You Can’t Sleep on Estate Planning”

3 Mistakes Made During Estate Planning

Whether you have a large estate or a modest one, as the owner, you must settle all of your affairs while you still have the ability to do so. There are various issues and common mistakes that people make when it comes to estate planning. This blog will go over some of the issues to watch out for: Continue reading “3 Mistakes Made During Estate Planning”

3 Ways to Minimize Estate Planning Taxes

Estate taxes can balloon significantly, but certain techniques can always help you bring down the payable amount. These are within the legal parameters as well, so you can easily take them on without worrying. Here are some of the most commonly recommended ones: Continue reading “3 Ways to Minimize Estate Planning Taxes”

Protecting Yourself from Home Title Theft

Home title theft is a form of identity theft, and many people suffer from it every year. Scammers and thieves tend to keep an eye out for vacation homes, properties belonging to the deceased, and other vulnerable aspects of the home that they can exploit. Continue reading “Protecting Yourself from Home Title Theft”

Does New York Surrogate’s Court Have Authority to Evict Occupants of Estate and Trust Property?

When someone dies and leaves real property as part of their estate, such as rental property, commercial and retail buildings, and residential property, it becomes part of their estate. If they have a will in place, then the property is distributed according to the deceased’s wishes as outlined in the will.

In some cases, if the decedent also had a trust, then the property may be transferred to the trust as outlined in the will. One issue that arises as part of the probate processes in New York Surrogate’s Court is whether they have the authority to evict occupants of an estate and trust property.

Why Would New York Surrogate’s Court Need to Evict Occupants?

Supreme Courst NY Exterior

It is quite common for a deceased landlord to have renters in rental properties in NYC and the surrounding boroughs. The estate executor would continue to collect rental payments as part of their responsibilities for protecting the estate’s assets.

However, if the decedent indicated they wanted to sell the property, or if it was being transferred to a trust or another beneficiary, then the recipient does not have to honor existing lease agreements. Rather, they can give notice that tenants will need to move out.

If they refuse, then eviction proceedings would need to occur. Instead of filing in New York City Civil Court, which handles landlord-tenant issues, the new property owner could file their request with the New York Surrogate’s Court.

The Surrogate’s Court is tasked with overseeing that a decedent’s estate is distributed according to their will and/or transferred to their trust. As such, they have the power to issue eviction orders of occupants in a property that is part of the decedent’s estate.

Furthermore, the Surrogate’s Court has the power to evict occupants from residential properties that are part of the estate. For instance, the deceased may have had a caregiver living with them at the time they died. The caregiver may not have another home.

Yet, if they are not named as the beneficiary of the property, then they need to move out. If they refuse, then the estate executor or estate administrator could request an eviction order from the Surrogate’s Court.

How to Address Probate Issues Relating to Estate and Trust Property

Eviction notice document, pen, glasses and calculator on   desk

If the occupant refuses to vacate the estate or trust property, then the task of having to start eviction proceedings must occur. It is not that the estate executor or estate administrator necessary wants to evict; they are simply fulfilling their duties of gathering, securing, distributing all estate assets.

If the property has already been transferred to the trust or beneficiary, then the eviction task falls to the new owner. In either case, it is a good idea to get help from a New York estate lawyer with eviction proceedings through New York Surrogate’s Court. Eviction as this point can be rather complex and detailed. The beneficiary often needs expert legal representation.

If you have further questions or need assistance with estate and trust property eviction proceedings in Jamaica, Queens, Brooklyn, New York City or Manhattan, please feel free to contact New York estate lawyer, Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C. at 718-276-6656 today!