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Flashcards in Estate issues Deck (21):

What is NY's Negative Bequest Rule?

EVEN IF a Will does not make a COMPLETE distribution of the estate, resulting in partial intestacy→words of disinheritance are given FULL EFFECT We treat any NEGATIVE bequests as if the "beneficiary" has PREDECEASED the testator Anti-lapse statute still is operative (if "beneficiary" was an ISSUE or sibling)


How are lifetime gifts from testators (post-Will execution) to beneficiaries treated?

Satisfaction of legacies → a lifetime gift (made after a Will's execution) to a beneficiary named in the testator's Will was PRESUMPTIVELY made in partial or total satisfaction of the legacy (to be taken into account when distributing the testator's property in death) ~ Advancement (intestacy) NY has REJECTED "Satisfaction of legacies" doctrine There is NO satisfaction of legacy UNLESS proved by... 1) a CONTEMPORANEOUS WRITING made at the time of the gift; AND 2) signed by the DONOR or DONEE  


Is it possible to incorporate into a Will by reference to an extrinsic document?

NO! NY does NOT recognize incorporation by reference Incorp by reference = "I devise all things listed on the piece of paper in my desk" EVERYTHING has to be formally executed (i.e. 7 pt test)


What are "nontestamentary acts" AND are they valid?

"Nontestamentary acts": lifetime acts that have their own purpose or motive independent of any testamentary purpose that occur after a will is executed should be given FULL effect in the distributions made. E.g. "car I own at my death"; "contents of chest"; "furnishings in my living room" EXCEPTION: this is NOT VALID for title documents (e.g. deeds, stock certificates, bank passbooks); THESE can only be transferred as mandated by law


What are the 5 types of testamentary gifts that can be included in a Will?

1) Specific gift - only that asset can satisfy the gift "I devise my computer to my son, Seth" 2) Demonstrative legacy - A general amount from a specific source  "I bequeth $1MM to be paid from proceeds of sale of my house" 3) General legacy - Gift of a general dollar amount "I give the sum of $56MM to Jim" 4) Residuary disposition  “I give all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate to my brother Jim.” 5) Intestate property - If a partial intestacy results because Will  has no residuary clause OR something in residuary clause given to a friend who predeceased so anti-lapse does not apply


What is an "abatement of legacies" to satisfy creditors’ claims?

When there are MORE claims against an estate than there are assets... Order of abatement of testators’s property to pay debts and claims (absent provision in the will): FIRST PAID FROM.... 1) Intestate & residuary property abate THEN 2) General legacies abate pro-rata (proportionally) THEN 3) Demonstrative legacies abate pro-rata THEN 4) Specific legacies abate AND ONLY THEN... 5) Items that qualify for the estate tax marital deduction  


What is the ademption doctrine?

If a testator makes a SPECIFIC GIFT of property, and the property CANNOT be found or is no longer OWNED by the testator at the time of her death → the gift FAILS (he loses) Does NOT apply to Demonstrative gifts: If there is no cash available from the specified source, the gift will turn into a GENERAL LEGACY (i.e. other assets will be sold to satisfy a demonstrative legacy) EXCLUSIONS: 1) Beneficiaries can collect insurance proceeds for lost, damaged or destroyed (specific) gifts paid AFTER death If paid BEFORE death, then gift would adeem and beneficiary gets nothing 2) Beneficiaries can collect proceeds from an executory K (e.g. the sale of a house) to extent paid AFTER death If K was completed by time of death, the gift adeems and beneficiary gets nothing  3) Beneficiary is entitled to receive money or property into which the proceeds from the sales that CAN be traced  


Are specific gifts of encumbered property (w/ liens) "exonerated" at time of distribution?

NO! Liens on specifically devised property are NOT exonerated UNLESS the will specifically directs exoneration (i.e. using proceeds from residuary estate) NOTE: a general provisions for payments of debt in a Will do NOT exonerate specific liens – must specifically direct exoneration If not exonerated, the property passes subject to the lien  


How are bequests of shares of stock (and other securities) treated?

Depends... 1) Stock in closely held corporation → adeems if sold (i.e. it's specific) 2) Stock in publicly traded company → does NOT adeem (i.e. it's general) If stock does not exist, beneficiary would get paid the value of the shares from other assets EXCEPTION: Stock in publicly traded company ARE specific gifts if the testator bequeathes "my XYZ stock" → adeems 3) Stock Splits → treated as a specific bequest no matter what so beneficiary will get all the shares INSTEAD of the original amt NOTE: it's irrelevant when dealing w/ stock splits whether the testator used "my" language, and/or whether the stock was publicly-traded or closely-held 4) Corp merges & stock is converted → no ademption b/c change in form, not substance (i.e. this wasn't a sale)  


What are non-probate assets?

Interests in property that are NOT subject to disposition under the Will or via intestacy (i.e. a Will instruction CAN'T override existing instructions) CATEGORIES: 1) Property passing by right of survivorship (e.g. joint bank account; payable on death securities, etc) 2) Property passing by K (e.g. life insurance policies; emp benefits payable to person OTHER than decedent or decedent's estate) 3) Property held in trust (i.e. the terms of the trust will govern the disposition of the trust assets) 4) Property over which the decedent held a "pwr of appointment"  


What is the purpose of the elective share statute?

To protect the SURVIVING spouse against disinheritance by giving him/her a MINIMUM share of the testator's probate or intestate estate


How do you calculate the elective share amt (AND net elective share amt)?

**Applies to BOTH PROBATE and INTESTATE estates** Elective share = the GREATER of... 1) $50k; OR 2) 1/3d of the augmented estate (= net probate estate + testamentary substitutes) Net probate estate = the value of the estate AFTER pmt of debts, BUT before pmt of estate taxes Testamentary subsitutes = certain transferred non-probate assets to other persons --------------- Net elective share =  1) Elective share/augmented estate MINUS 2) Elective share amt (calculated above) MINUS 3) Any gifts to SPOUSE from Will MINUS 4) Any joint tenany property b/t SPOUSE & SURVIVING SPOUSE ("1/2 IN, 1/2 OUT") NOTE: IF negative, elective share is SATISFIED (no right of election) IF positive, elective is NOT satisfied by the gifts, others contribute pro rata


What are 7 key testamentary substitutes (T-Subs) categories?

Testamentary Subsitutes need a LEG UP 1) Totten trusts (bank accounts in testator's name in trust for another) 2) Survivorship estates (joint tenancies; tenancies by the entirety; joint bank accounts; survivor bank acocunts) NOTE: watch out for pre- & post- marriage sceanarios 3) Lifetime transfers w/ strings attached (revocable trusts; or trusts where testator retained a life estate AFTER 1992) 4) Employee pension, profit-sharing and deferred comp plans NOTE: if the plan is a "qualified plan" → only 1/2 is a T-Sub 5) Gifts made w/in 1 yr of death (>$14k; "Gifts causa mortis", regardless of amt) 6) U.S. gov't bonds (and other "pay on death" arrangements) 7) Pwrs of appointment (property over which the testator held a PRESENTLY exercisable general pwr of appt)   RULE OF THUMB = If testator has an interest in it and can manipulate it, then it's a T-Sub (i.e. almost all non-probate transfers)


What are 6 non-testamentary substitutes?

LOGPIT 1) **Life insurance proceeds (whether payable to surviving spouse or third party; counter-intuitive) 2) One-half (1/2) of "qualified" pension & profit-sharing benefits 3) Gifts less than $14,000 even made w/in 1 yr. of death. 4) Pre-marriage irrevocable transfers (i.e. gift to a friend before marriage) 5) Irrevocable transfers made more than one year before death (transfers in which grantor did NOT retain power to revoke, invade, consume or dispose of principal) 6) Transfers (irrevocable) with retained life estate made BEFORE 9/1/92 & during the marriage  


How do you calculate the augmented estate (a/k/a elective share estate)?

Net Probate Estate  PLUS All T- Subs PLUS  Survivorship estates b/t TESTATOR and 3d PARTY (made DURING marriage) Consideration Furnished Test = Surviving spouse has the burden of proof as to the decedant’s contributions to the assets, acquisitions (RP) or the deposits in a joint bank account/tenancy held by the deceased spouse & third party; only “consideration furnished” goes into elective share pot PLUS Survivorship estates b/t TESTATOR and SURVIVING SPOUSE Only contribute 1/2 of this T-Sub. Period. PLUS Surivorship estates b/t TESTATOR and 3d PARTY (made BEFORE marriage) Consideration Furnished Test, BUT onlly contribute 1/2 of the amt as T-Sub  


If positive, how is the elective share satisfied?

TAG LINE = "All beneficiaries contribute pro rata (proportionately)" CALCULATION: FIRST: find the fraction that EVERY beneficiary must contribute = Elective share amount / Probate estate value net of elective share  SECOND: multiply every beneficiary's gift by fraction above


Do elective share trusts satisfy the surviving spouse's right of election?

(probably) NO! For estates of decedents DYING (i.e. Will draft date is irrelevant) on or after Sept. 1, 1994 a life estate will NOT satisfy the elective share entitle If spouse files for elective share (which is HER RIGHT)→ Trust is administered as if SURVIVING SPOUSE predeceased the decedent (i.e. no life estate in the surviving spouse) & "accelerate to the remainderman" SURVIVING SPOUSE's elective share is THEN satisfied from gifted property and from other beneficiaries "PRO RATA" (including remaindermen), if applicable Caveat - if surviving spouse is given 1/3d or more OUTRIGHT (i.e. the elective estate share IS satisfied), then don't "kill" trust  ---------- BEFORE 9/1/94 →Right to elective share could be eliminated through use of an elective share trust that gave surviving spouse a life estate (an income interest for life), as long as at least $50k was given outright to the spouse (i.e. cash, property) If the sum of (i) outright dispositions of at least $50k plus (ii) the principal of the trust, was at least the 1/3 elective share amount → the surviving spouse could NOT elect against the Will


What are the procedural rules for electing an elective share?

The right of election is PERSONAL to the surviving spouse ALONE (purpose is to protect the spouse, not her heirs) Cannot be elected by an EXECUTOR or ADMINSTRATOR BUT, a GUARDIAN or CONSERVATOR of an incapacitated spouse MAY elect (w/ Ct approval) FILING 1) If the estate is admitted to PROBATE → Notice of election must be filed w/in 6 mos. after "Letters" are issued by Surrogate Ct. (at the start of the probate proceedings) 2) If there is NO estate administration → Notice of election must be filed no more than 2 years after testator's death WAIVER The right of election CAN be waived in a SIGNED WRITING (w/ or w/o consideration) that is ACKNOWLEDGED (b4 notary public)... (i) BEFORE or AFTER marriage; AND (ii) as to a particular Will or testamentory substitute, or as to ALL Wills and testamentary substitutes in general NOTE: A general waiver (e.g., premarital agmt) of all rights waives right to elective share or intestate share but NOT to specific gifts made in Will →there MUST be explicit waiver of such bequests  


How is elective share handled re: multi-jx parties?

If DECEDENT is NOT domiciled in NY at death → right of election is NOT available to surviving spouse UNLESS decedent EXPRESSLY states in his Will that the disposition of his real property in NY is to be governed by NY law The testator's Will is admitted to probate and his ENTIRE estate is administered in his state of DOMICILE, BUT "ancillary administrative proceedings" will be req'd in NY to clear title of NY property (situs rule) If DECEDENT is a NY domiciliary → property located outside NY STILL counts toward value calculation of SURVIVING SPOUSE'S elective share [even though the Ct. cannot adjudicate ownership of the property (need “ancillary administration” b/c of the “situs rule”)]  


In calculating elective share, what is the exempt property set-aside?

Items which the SURVIVING SPOUSE gets "off the top" before property passes through Will, intestacy or elective share – i.e. not counted toward estate. In addition to the elective share, the surviving spouse is entitled to EXEMPT property up to $92.5k in value... 1 car - up to $25k in value Furniture, appliances, computers - up to $20k Up to $25k cash allowance (NOT subject to creditor's claims, other than claims for funeral expenses) Animals, farm machinery - up to $20k  Books, pics, videos - $2.5k NOTE: If NO surviving spouse, goes to kids UNDER the age of 21 **In ANY question involving a surviving spouse, MENTION exempt property set-aside**


When is a surviving spouse DISQUALIFIED from taking an elective share?

Cannot take elective share or exempt personal property set-aside when... DISMAL 1) Divorce - a final decree of divorce/annulment 2) Invalid divorce procured by SURVIVING spouse 3) Separation decree (NOT agmt) rendered against SURVIVING spouse 4) Marriage was void - as incestuous or bigamous. 5) Abandonment & Lack of support by surviving spouse.   **SAME UNDER INTESTACY**