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An attorney notified beneficiaries of father's N.Y.S. estate as "closed." An investment account remains undistributed.

Syracuse, NY |

A beneficiary of father's estate purchased his house from his estate. The same beneficiary continues to receive, in the mailbox of decedent's house, father's statement from an investment account which executor never distributed to heirs , even though the beneficiary's attorney's had previously sent written notification(3Xs) to the estate attorney and executor of need to forward all decedent's mail to executor's address 'prior ' to closing estate. Apparently, the USPS never received notification to forward decedent's mail to executor of father's estate. The estate attorney proceeded and notified all beneficiaries that the N.Y.S. estate was closed. What must be done to: -stop delivery of father's mail to house -distribute the proceeds from father's unclosed account Thanks.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Certain assets (like bank and investment accounts) pass under the beneficiary designations on those accounts and not via an estate. Depending on the size of the investment account and the number of mistakes that you perceive in the administration, it may be worth your while to consult an attorney.

    This answer is made for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney that practices in the subject practice discipline and with whom you have an attorney client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party, any partnership, investment plan, arrangement, legal structure or other transaction addressed herein.


  2. The executor can contact the Investment account to find out whether any beneficiaries are listed and have those amounts distributed to the beneficiaries. Probate may not be required.

    Every legal matter is fact specific, and there are often nuances in every case. This is intended for comment only, and does not create an attorney client relationship.


  3. I agree with Attorneys Luthmann and Hill. The first question is "was the investment account a probate asset?" If so, then the executor will need to take the steps to distribute it. If not, then the beneficiaries thereof need to contact the brokerage firm to arrange for the distribution of said account. As noted by counsel, you may wish to retain counsel to deal with this problem and to make sure that there are not other issues in this estate. Good luck to you.

    This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.


  4. The notification needs to be sent to the brokerage firm with proper documentation showing that the address needs to be corrected and that whomever is sending that letter has authority to do so.

    The foregoing is not legal advice nor is it in any manner whatsoever meant to create or impute an attorney/client relationship.

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