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Matthew Lenza

Matthew Lenza’s Answers

8 total

  • My mother passed away in July. Can her checking account stay active while I am in probate?

    The bank is chartered in California and the account was opened in Florida and I am in NYC. The bank is giving me conflicting information.

    Matthew’s Answer

    Whether it can stay open is one question, but remember that it if it was an account solely in your mother's name then it is considered a probate asset and will eventually need to be distributed pursuant to the terms of either her will (if she made one) or the laws of intestacy. In other words, if you do keep the account open, don't make any transactions on the account or you may have to reimburse the estate.

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  • I would like to amend and restate my living trust. Does the restatement need 2 witnesses and be notarized to be valid?

    I just want to make sure that amendment and restatement is as valid at the original declaration of living trust.

    Matthew’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    While the strictest formalities of estate document execution in New York are reserved via statute for the execution of wills, it will only be beneficial to have any trust amendment executed along with as many formalities as possible. The reason is simply because regardless as to exact statutory requirements regarding trust witness and notary presence, taking the extra steps can only help in the event that someone seeks to challenge the validity of the trust and/or amendment. In my practice I would make sure that the amendment is witnessed and notarized. While it may not technically be a statutory requirement (and some may argue that it is), it is certainly good practice.

    Good Luck

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  • Woman never heard of after 30 rs of marrage claiming to be his daughter and is contesting his will she wants the house

    I have a legal will naming me as his benificiary i am elderly and have no money for a lawyer what can i do to protect my home

    Matthew’s Answer

    My simple advice would be to preliminarily tackle the issue from two angles.

    I would head to the Surrogate's Court and speak to the clerks there. Citywide, most of the clerks in the Surrogate's Court are very helpful and may be able to point you in the right direction.

    Regarding your inability to afford counsel, I suggest contacting the Queens County Bar Association. They have a volunteer lawyers project that you may be able to qualify for. Info is here

    http://www.qcba.com/DynamicContent.aspx?Command=content&ID=29

    Good Luck!

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  • How do i get power of attorney over my adult child who has schizophrenia

    my son is violent, and unpredidctable, how do get power of attorney so i can take care of him better.

    Matthew’s Answer

    Steven hit this right on the head. Power of attorney will likely not be an option since it would require both his consent and his cognitive recognition ability to understand the document. There is a mechanism in place to deal with your situation, and it is a Guardianship proceeding. Contact a local attorney and they will get you started.

    Good Luck

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  • How do I find out if an estate has gone in to probate?

    I filed a claim against a jeweler that had my wedding set on consignment at his shop and when I went to pick up the rings, they were nowhere to be found. When I went to the court date, the judge informed me that the jeweler had died, so it was sug...

    Matthew’s Answer

    While each state surely has different rules, I would imagine that a trip to your local Surrogate's Court (or court of similar jurisdiction dealing with estate matters) would permit a public records search of probate filings. Many major metropolitan areas even allow you to check on the filing status online.

    You could then monitor the petition for probate and review the assets listed on the petition to see if your item has been included in the estate.

    Good Luck!

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  • When filling out an Affadavit of Release Form, Asset?

    If the person left a suicide note and states they want a certain person to have all their things, and the person owns an automobile do you list it as an Asset?????

    Matthew’s Answer

    There are a couple of things that would need clarification to best answer your question.

    First of all, every state has specific requirements about specifically distributing assets after death. This is usually done via what you may know as a will. Most states require that any document (or note) leaving property to another after death be signed and witnessed (at a minimum).

    Second of all, when you talk about listing the car as an asset, I am imagining that you are talking about an Administration (died without will) or Probate proceeding (died with will). The specific terms for these proceedings may vary according to your state.

    While it's impossible to answer your question fully without additional information, the short answer is that absent any other controllling documents (trusts, etc.) the car would be an "asset".

    You really will want to consult with a local estate attorney to iron this out.

    Good Luck!

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  • How can I get on a deed?

    I recently just married my wife and I wanted to know what documents and the process necessary for me to be placed on the deed? What offices would I need to go to? How long would this total process take?

    Matthew’s Answer

    It certainly depends on the specific town/county/city. In most areas a trip to the county clerk's office should be enough to get you the required forms to transfer a deed from your wife's name to both of your names. Many areas also allow you to pull up the forms right online. How long it takes is likely very area specific.

    Good Luck!

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