Can You Be the Executor of an Estate in New York if You Don’t Live in the State?

If your loved one has died in New York, with a valid will, trust or estate plan there, but you live in another state, you may be uncertain if you can, or if you want to, serve as executor, administrator or trustee from another part of the country. To answer the first question, New York does allow a non-resident to serve as executor or administrator of an estate within the state.

However, just because the law allows you to serve as an executor does not mean that you must. You always have the right to decline to serve. However, just because you live in another part of the country does not mean that it must be difficult or complicated to serve as executor. In many instances, you can fulfill all your duties without ever having to travel to the state. Typically, you attorney can:

  • Take care of all paperwork necessary to get you appointed as executor
  • Appear on your behalf at all hearings or proceedings
  • Prepare and file all documents necessary to initiate and settle the estate
  • Prepare and file an accounting of all debts and assets of the estate
  • Secure valuations of property, when necessary
  • Notify all interested parties, including creditors and potential beneficiaries
  • Ensure that all final debts and obligations of the estate are satisfied
  • Verify that all necessary tax filings are completed
  • Oversee the orderly distribution of the assets of the estate in accordance with the terms of the will

Contact the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston

At the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston, we focus our estate administration practice on estates subject to probate in Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island. Contact our office online  or call us at 631-425-7299 or C 855-479-4700 to set up a free initial consultation. We can be reached 24/7.




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Estate Planning and Alzheimer’s Disease

Author:Bonnie Lawston

More than five million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. That number is projected to reach 7.1 million by the year 2025 and 13.8 million people by 2050 Alzheimer’s costs the country more than $200 billion dollars every year, and that figure does not include the $216 billion of unpaid care provided by family and friends.
But anyone who has helped a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease knows that it is nearly impossible to assign a purely monetary value to the care they have provided. How much would you charge for constantly riding an emotional roller coaster, or for watching a parent, spouse or sibling deteriorate day by day? What is the hourly wage for endless worry and heartbreak?
In-home care for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia is one way to allow your loved one to live at home for as long as possible, while alleviating some of your burden.

The Law Office of Bonnie Lawston can assist you and your family in ensuring that all the necessary legal documents are prepared and are in place so that when you need to exercise a legal right or take care of a family issue you will be able to.  We can also plan and protect your loved one’s assets from government seizure and other issues such as medicare planning issues by using the tools that we have to prepare and properly execute an estate plan while maximizing one’s estate and inheritance.   Find out more about us by visiting us on our website at  or call us for a free consultation at 631-425-7299 or email us

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Does Your Loved One Need a Special Needs Trust?

If a member of your family has special needs, it is important to you that he or she has financial security.  Let’s say for example, that your 19-year-old son, Johnny, suffered serious injuries in a car accident.  That the accident resulted in traumatic brain injury and left your child as a paraplegic.  Now you are faced with ongoing medical expenses, the need to retrofit your home to accommodate your child’s special needs and a myriad of other costs.

With the help and assistance of your NY estate attorney, a Special Needs Trust can be established for your loved one.  Johnny can continue to live at home with you as his primary caregivers.  You can be compensated by the trust to provide for his specialized needs and attention which is a 24/7 full-time job.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

Special needs trust are authorized by 42 U.S.C. sec. 1396p(d)(4)(A)  and are an estate planning tool that protects funds intended for your special needs loved one, while preserving eligibility for public benefits.  The assets of the trust can be used for essentials not covered through entitlement programs, such as private nurses, or therapists, or certain types of medical equipment.  The trustee is responsible for the management and distribution of the assets in the trust.

To be eligible for a Special Needs Trust:

•    You must be under the age of 65
•    The trust must be funded with the individual’s assets (such as a personal injury award)
•    You must be disabled
•    The trust must be “for the sole benefit of” the disabled individual
•    The trust must be created by a parent, grandparent, legal guardian or the Court

Why your loved one needs a Special Needs Trust

If your loved one is receiving public benefits such as, Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicaid, and Section 8 Housing, he or she will lose those benefits if a trust is not established.  In the example of Johnny, his personal injury award would have been quickly exhausted by paying bills that Medicaid otherwise would have paid.  So special care must be taken, to set aside funds and in setting up the trust.

Your loved one’s Special Needs Trust can be established using assets that already belong to him or her or may be contributed by a third party.  Inheritances, lawsuit settlements, or financial gifts are commonly used to fund the trust.

Need advice about a Special Needs Trust?  Talk to an NY estate attorney today!

Setting up a Special Needs Trust for your loved one requires a skilled and experienced estate attorney.  The NY Law Offices of Bonnie Lawston has helped many clients over the years set up trusts of all types, including Special Needs Trusts.  If you need help in setting up a trust for your special needs loved one, contact us online  or call 877-581-8498 for an appointment today.

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What happens if your loved one dies without a Will?

If your loved one dies without a Will and resides in New York State, then the proceeding that would be commenced is called an Administration proceeding.    An interested party, generally a relative, would retain the services of a probate attorney such as our office to assist them with the filing of all the administration papers and court appearances required by each case.   The needs of each case vary depending on the circumstances, relatives and how the matter is dealt with.

The family tree information must be obtained and processed.   Documents and information must be presented to the court to ensure that the jurisdiction over all the necessary parties is obtained.    In order to notify all the necessary parties and obtain jurisdiction over every party, either the party signs a specific form or is served with a Citation and appears in Court.   Once that has been completed and the Court is satisfied with that aforementioned step, then the Court will appoint an Administrator of the Estate. That is the fiduciary or the Estate’s representative.    If there is an emergency or other pressing issue and a legal matter needs to be addressed, our office can obtain preliminary letters in such cases and in emergencies to advance the process.

Upon appointment of a representative of the Estate,  our office will begin the search and collection of all the Estate assets as well as tending to any pressing issues such as insurance, collection of rent and perhaps a sale or business matter.

Once the assets are all collected, the debt information is gathered; an informal accounting process can begin.  The informal accounting is a document prepared by the attorney but signed by the representative of the Estate after careful review which provides to all the necessary parties who are beneficiaries and distributes of an estate what the gross value of the estate is, net value and information about all the debts.   It also includes the proposed distribution amounts and when to expect same.    Prior to this stage, our office will advise you and assist you in filing the estate tax returns and personal tax returns of the decedent, where applicable.

Upon approval of the informal accounting, the matter is then distributed and concluded after all the necessary closing documents are executed and collected.   Then the matter is closed.   If an informal accounting is not acceptable, we will file and obtain the necessary court approval for distribution whether it is via a judicial accounting or other procedure.

If your loved one did not reside in New York State but has property in New York State and no Will – then you need an ancillary administration proceeding.    It is a little less complicated but the Estate will need to file the necessary papers and have the representative appointed in New York to handle the matters within New York State.  The administrator does not need to be in New York.    The administrator simply needs to retain the services of a New York probate attorney such as our office.   We will do the rest for you.




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Home Health Care Not Directly Affected by Fiscal Cliff Agreement

Bonnie Lawston: Law Offices of Bonnie Lawston
Author: Star Multi Care: Stephen Sternbach, CEO

Fears that the resolution of the federal budget crisis might lead to significant cuts affecting home health care providers proven unfounded, as President Obama and legislators came to an agreement that, at least for now, will have no direct impact on home health care. Prior legislation had already called for $77 billion in cuts in the Medicare home health care benefit over the next ten years, and home health care industry advocates worried that additional cuts might be forthcoming.  Such cuts, according to Val J. Halamandaris, president of NAHC (the National Association of Home Care and Hospice), would have made it much more difficult for home health care providers to cost-effectively offer their services, which continue to have high demand.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which resolved the “fiscal cliff” crisis, did repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act, or CLASS. In its place, Congress and President Obama established a 15 member Long Term Care Commission, which is charged with both defining the problems associated with providing long term care, and offering solutions. Those solutions would then be taken up by Congress.

Industry watchdogs caution that the fight is not over yet. The deal negotiated between the President and Congress did not address federal borrowing limits, which are expected to be reached in approximately two months. It is anticipated that there will be new legislative efforts at that time, which may include further health care cuts, particularly in light of President Obama’s call for Medicare reform as a component of future deficit reductions.

Learn More about Your Options from Star Multi Care

Star Multi Care offers a wide range of in-home health care services, from Alzheimers’ and diabetic care to post-hospitalization treatment. We also work with individuals in assisted living or other residential care facilities. For more information about the ways we can help you and your loved ones, contact us online or call our office at (877) 920-0600

Home Health Care—Legal Concerns

When you need home health care, it’s important to make certain your legal rights and interests are protected. Attorney Bonnie Lawston, in Huntington Station, has worked with seniors and their families for more than 20 years, addressing all matters related to home health care services. She advises clients and providers in New York and out of state.

Our office can provide you and your family with a wealth of information on how to best handle the home care issues facing you today and how they affect your finances now an in the future.  We can give you advice on how to protect your assets based upon your current situation and what to expect for the future.   Many of our parents worked very hard for what they have and they want to protect it for themselves but also for their children.  We will work with you to prepare the legal documents that you need to carry out your desires and maximize your family’s inheritance. We prepare all the necessary documents such as living wills, health care proxies and other directives including funeral arrangements, power of attorney documents, Wills and Trusts.   We will explain the advantages and disadvantages to you.   Allow the “Law” in Lawston to work for you.

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New York Estate Litigation Attorney handling clients throughout Queens County, Nassau County and Suffolk County NY.

Author: Bonnie Lawston

Stephen Sternbach: Star Multi Care

Do you know what to do with a loved ones estate if they die?
Do you live out of state and your loved one passed away as a resident of Queens or  they own property in Queens or New York?

Legal Help with Queens, NY Probate & Estate Administration—No Matter Where You Live
If the decedent died as a resident of the State of New York, living in Queens (their primary residence) or they have real property in the State of New York, we can assist you.  New York State law requires that when someone passes as a resident of New York, or has property in NY, an estate proceeding must be started to collect the assets and distribute them.

Representing Clients throughout Queens, NY
The Law Office of Bonnie Lawston represents clients throughout Queens County, including Astoria, Corona, Elmhurst, Glendale, Long Island City, Forest Hills, Woodside, Bayside, Douglas-ton, Flushing, Kew Gardens, Little Neck, Oakland Gardens, Utopia, Whitestone, Howard Beach, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Hollis, Jamaica, and Jamaica Estates, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens,
Breezy Point, Far Rockaways, Roxbury and Sea-side to name a few communities.

A Variety of Retainer Options Available
We have many types of retainers. Our popular retainer is the deferred payment retainer whereby the legal fee is paid from the estate and/or inheritance. No legal fee or legal retainer is due up front. Our legal service fee is paid upon collection of estate assets and prior or at the time of distribution. Subject to qualification, verification and other information.

Call the Law Offices of Bonnie Lawston toll free (855) 479-4700 | Local Calls (631) 425-7299.

If you are unable to handle your situation alone due to possible illness or inability to move around without assistance, we work with Star Multi Care to provide our clients with Home Health Care throughout Queens.

Home Health Services We Offer
Your personal care team of healthcare professionals and support staff collaborate to deliver a broad range of home care services that include:

Contact Star Multi Care
For compassionate home nursing care, therapy and home health aide services, call Star Multi Care Services at (877) 920-0600 or contact one of our branch administrators in your area to find out how we can make your life easier and help you worry less about the well-being of someone you love.

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