Skip to main content
Peter Vincent Arcese

Peter Arcese’s Answers

33 total

  • My husband and I own a condo in New York city. We are considering placing it in a trust. What are the pros and cons?

    I am a Senior Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development. My husband is an artist. We currently live in Tanzania. We would like to place a condo in a trust. We would also like to have wills.

    Peter’s Answer

    Consider all the factors in the responses here. A trust, once established, may provide benefits in continuity of management, especially when the settlor and/or beneficiaries are out of state or overseas. There are also many tax related issues in using a trust to consider. A key decision will be whether a revocable or irrevocable trust will best suit your goals. Another essential issue is to get clear on what would be involved in transferring the condo to the trust. The building must be consulted, as well as the holder of any mortgage on the property. They are key players in this process.

    See question 
  • How long does it take to settle and distribute an Estate in New York?

    There's an Estate with a will in New York. My mother passed away Oct. 2013. It's a simple will evenly divided three ways between the beneficiaries with an Executor listed in the will. Here we are in late July and the Estate is still not resolved. ...

    Peter’s Answer

    If there is a taxable estate, the due date is nine months from date of death. An Executor often needs that amount of time to gather the necessary information and to prepare the required return. Executors may wait until they receive a "closing letter" from tax authorities confirming that tax issues are settled before making distributions of assets.

    See question 
  • Estate law question regarding what monies are safe from a relative who plans to contest my mother's will -- are monies in.......

    depository and/or brokerage accounts that are joint with me (her child), or that have me as a beneficiary, safe from someone who plans to contest her will? I was told that these accounts fall outside the will so they are safe. Is that true?

    Peter’s Answer

    I would add that joint accounts can potentially be challenged as "convenience accounts" under similar grounds as challenging a Will. The issue involves what the intention was when the joint tenant was added to the account and depends on the specific facts and circumstances at the time. This is something to discuss with estate counsel.

    See question 
  • Uncle is dying of cancer. he named me as his heir to all of his items. his wife is in a nursing home...

    Can my uncle give me things he wants me to have before he dies? His wife has four boys by another marrage. The items he wants me to have in most part where his brothers and was heired to my uncle. I am all so his power of attorney.

    Peter’s Answer

    In addition to helpful the points made in the other answers here, be especially careful since you have a power of attorney. Depending on local law, this may put you in the position of having a confidential relationship with your uncle. Also, any transfers of property by an agent under a power of attorney to him/herself could come under additional scrutiny. In NY, for example, such a gift by an agent may not even be valid unless a special gifts rider is also properly executed.

    See question 
  • Is Surogate Court expensive for probating will? Is my mother's will legal since it is hand written and not notorized?

    I would like to know if I can get a lawyer to help me pro-bono? I don't have any money.

    Peter’s Answer

    You'll need a lawyer to take a look at the Will and see if it meets the formalities of execution to be valid. Some local Bar Associations and law school clinical programs have events (sometimes monthly) where you can go in and have a document reviewed pro bono. You might check those in or near your county. It's worth calling to find out.

    See question 
  • In publishing book, need I change first/last name of executor who raided our mother's estate and ignored terms of her will?

    am ready to e-publish book which consists of letters between those of us who live outside Georgia and our Atlanta attorneys where Mother died and the executor lived. The book exposes extraordinary misuse of trust and useless Georgia law supp...

    Peter’s Answer

    By all means, the book should be "vetted" by an attorney experienced in publishing law and defamation, not only for protection from liability for defamation, but to make it publishable and marketable down the road. A publisher that might otherwise be interested in picking up the book if sales go well, will not be looking to pay an advance to take on a lawsuit.

    See question 
  • Can a spouse not mentioned in a lawsuit attend mediation?

    I have a lawsuit against an individual. My wife is not mentioned in this suit. This individual and I have decided to mediate our case before a mediator. Can my wife come to mediation for my support? I do not want to make a final decision without h...

    Peter’s Answer

    If a mediator has already been selected, you or your attorney could ask the mediator. Mediators often ask for briefs or position statements prior to a meeting.

    See question 
  • I have an Aunt who has a gambling problem. I want to know if there is a way to take control of her finances.

    She has had a few mini strokes but other than that is physically and mentally sound. She owns 50% of her home and her sister owns 50%. There is approx. 50% equity in the home. I have a sense of urgency as she has 10 years of a 20 year NY State lot...

    Peter’s Answer

    This is a difficult situation. NYS law allows for a petition to be made to the court to appoint an "Article 81 Guardian" for an adult who is alleged to be incapacitated, either mentally, physically, or both and to a wide range of degree. You would have to consult with an attorney experienced in handling these guardianships to see if there is a chance it might apply to your Aunt's condition. Elder Law attorneys are often well versed in these matters.

    See question 
  • What can i do to make it mine

    my parents have a trailer still paying on it my mom is in a nursing home my dad is in the hospital not doing to good and they want me to have the trailer but are not capable of changeing things over to me my sister is power of atterny for my mom a...

    Peter’s Answer

    As Mr. Potter notes, speak to an Elder Law attorney. Any transfers of assets may have an effect on eligibility for Medicaid and other benefits programs. In addition, NYS recently changed the laws on powers of attorney where gifts are involved, especially where the gift is to the agent under the power. It's very important for all involved to seek specific legal advice.

    See question 
  • Online Will vs. a 2005 Revocable Trust? Could that online Will be updated/revised?

    If you want to protect the 2005 Revocable Trust and are concerned about the ethics of someone with access to the previous online will (unknown date) what steps would you take to protect the trust?

    Peter’s Answer

    I would also add to the excellent assessment by Mr. Goralka, that you be on the lookout for any assertions that the Revocable Trust was revoked and whether the online will in question was executed with all the formalities for it to be legally effective. Online and DIY Wills are fraught with possibilities of failing to meet the necessary requirements.

    See question