CLE: Estate Administration of Real Property and Co-Ops in New York

CLE: Estate Administration of Real Property and Co-Ops in New York

On November 12, 2021, Daniel J. Reiter, Esq. taught 'Estate Administration of Real Property and Co-Ops in New York', a continuing legal education course for attorneys on LawPracticeCLE.com. The program is available on demand.

When a person dies owning real property or shares in a cooperative corporation in New York, a careful analysis is required by the attorney advising the executor, administrator, trustee, or beneficiary. Real property and shares in a co-op can pass in many ways, affecting the rights of parties and informing the procedures required to re-title property. Depending on the circumstances, the right of a fiduciary or beneficiary to administer real property in a decedent’s estate can range from extremely broad (e.g., passing to the residuary estate in a will), to very limited (e.g., a specific devise in a will of real property that needs to be sold to pay estate debts), to non-existent (e.g., property titled as joint tenants with rights of survivorship). The course explores the proper procedures, pitfalls, issues, and necessary analyses required by counsel for fiduciaries and beneficiaries to administer real property and co-ops in a decedent’s estate in New York.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a guardian and a conservator?

Generally, none. New York used to use the terms conservator (today’s version of guardian of the property) and committee (today’s version of guardian of the person). Many states still use the term conservator, but the concept is the same.

If I petition to have a guardian appointed in a Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 proceeding, will I have to serve as guardian?

No. Even if you are the “petitioner” – the person who is asking the judge to appoint a guardian – you can ask the judge to appoint someone else. If there are no family or friends willing and able to serve, the judge can appoint a non-profit organization or “independent” professional guardian to serve.

My disabled child is about to turn 18. Am I automatically able to make decisions for them when they turn 18?

No (except for limited exceptions). In New York, parents are the natural guardians of their children until age 18. However, once a child reaches 18, even if they are developmentally or intellectually disabled, a parent cannot automatically make decisions for their adult child. Guardianship is often necessary for developmentally and intellectually disabled adults who do not have capacity to manage their own affairs without assistance.

If I am appointed guardian, can I force my ward to take psychiatric medication?

Although most guardians are authorized to make routine and non-routine medical decisions on behalf of their ward, the administration of psychiatric medication to a person who objects requires special authorization from a judge, even if you were already appointed guardian.

How long does it take to get a guardian appointed and authorized to act in a Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 proceeding?

There is no set time. However, from the time counsel is retained, it usually takes about 2-4 months total for the guardian to begin acting. However, if a guardian is needed immediately, the judge can appoint a “temporary guardian” while everything gets sorted out. This speeds up the process.

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What Our Clients Say

“Daniel Reiter is an honest attorney. He handled my brother’s estate with professionalism, diligence, and sensitivity. … I would recommend him highly!”
– Former Client
“Our experience with Daniel was great. … We highly recommend Daniel for anyone needing a strong, competent, and honest attorney.”
– Former Client
“Daniel is extremely thorough, very easy to deal with, he invests time to make sure that the issues are understood and clear.”
– Former Client
“Daniel is a true professional who takes pride in doing good work.”
– Former Client