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Although the majority of New York estate lawyers guide clients through the administration and the probate process, there are instances where a lawyer has failed to make sure a client adhered to the legal procedures in place to decrease the risk of conflict.  Unfortunately, executors frequently put their fiduciary role at risk by not complying with basic procedures regardless of whether their intentions were to receive executor commissions, assist heirs to collect their inheritance or straightforwardly obtain their own share.  If you have been formally chosen by the New York probate Surrogate’s Court as an estate administrator or executor, it is important to know what you cannot do.

You Cannot Use the Estate Bank Account for Personal Use

The intention of an estate bank account is to keep all estate funds safe, eventually being allocated to the beneficiaries.  It is fairly alarming to learn that an executor will often exploit the estate bank account for personal use. The estate bank account is not intended to cover the personal expenses of the executor.  Paying bills and withdrawing cash from the estate bank account is not acceptable. Any funds held within the estate bank account can be used for estate-related expenses such as, mortgage payments, maintenance charges for a condo or co-op, settling creditor claims, upkeep expenses and the like.  Once the estate incidentals and inheritance has been consented by all beneficiaries, funds can be issued from the estate account. It is important to carefully take note of any estate expenditures, and keep any and all related paperwork safe.

You Cannot Use a Personal Bank Account for Estate Funds

There is no justifiable reason why estate funds should be kept anywhere but in an estate bank account.  Without a very good reason why an executor cannot open an estate account, it is one of the most important tasks for an executor.  Estate funds, such as profits from rent or selling real estate property, any settlement proceeds from a lawsuit, stocks or funds held by the deceased should be transferred or deposited to the estate account promptly.

You Cannot Get Rid of Estate Property

An estate is automatically established upon one’s death. While many belongings may appear worthless, whether they are personal or actual property, they should not be sold, given to charity, gifted or discarded as they belong to the estate.  The executor is not freed from his/her personal liability until all beneficiaries obtain their portion of the inheritance, any and all items must be kept in status quo. Removing an item from the estate, even if it appears to be worthless, can cause problems later on if not accounted for.  When real estate owned by the estate needs to be sold, the executor inventories all the items and can either provide the list to heirs in hopes the items will be claimed or alternatively they can be put in storage. If there is no will, or no beneficiary was not named than any unclaimed items can either be donated or sold.

Don’t get left in the dark when it comes to the law in NYC. Whether you are an executor who requires support administrating an estate or if you are a victim of an executor’s misconduct in New York State, or if an estate has been opened up in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Queens or Staten Island contact the Law Offices Of Roman Aminov 147-17 Union Turnpike, Flushing, NY 11367 (347) 766-2685 we are here to help.