74 The Queens Courier • buzz • september 11, 2014 for breaking news visit www.queenscourier.com The Elder Law Minute TM Choosing the Right Executor for Your Will By Ronald A. Fatoulah, Esq. and Stacey Meshnick, Esq. One of the most important decisions for a testator (person who signs a will) is the appointment of an Executor. An Executor is responsible for carrying out the testator’s directions concerning the dispositions set out in the will. An individual often appoints his or her spouse as Executor unless the spouse is unable to handle the job, in which case a child or someone else knowledgeable about the testator’s estate is named. Alternatively, a Co-Executor may be appointed to act together with the spouse or another individual. The Executor is the individual who is ultimately in charge of having the will probated. Through that process, the Executor gathers all the assets that will pass through the will (as opposed to those assets that will pass to joint owners or which have named beneficiaries) and pays the debts and expenses of the estate. The Executor is also responsible for investing the assets in the estate and managing any property. The estate’s assets must be managed prudently, or the Executor may be held accountable to the beneficiaries and to the Court for any negligence, waste, or mismanagement. It is strongly recommended that the Executor seek professional advice for the management of the assets of the estate. If an Executor does not carry out the testator’s wishes, he or she may be held personally liable. When considering whom to appoint, it is important to think about the family structure and the potential for tension among family members. Often the surviving family members disagree in many areas, which creates unwanted friction. It is important not to appoint co-Executors that are likely to have a conflict of interest and disagree. One way to eliminate this problem is to appoint a professional Executor, such as an attorney, financial advisor, or accountant. When deciding on an Executor, another consideration is proximity to where the estate will be administered. It may be difficult for a family member who resides a distance away to handle certain aspects of an Executor’s duties. If the testator owns property in another state, “ancillary” probate (probating assets that are not within the testator’s residence) in the other state may be necessary, which adds to the Executor’s requirements and duties. It may be necessary to appoint someone in that area. Avoiding ancillary probate through the use of a revocable trust would be a better overall option. Executors are entitled to commissions. A professional, a bank, or a trust company will usually not serve as an Executor of an estate unless statutory commissions are paid. The commission rate in New York for each Executor is 5% on the first $100,000 in the estate, 4% on the next $200,000, 3% on the next $700,000, 2-1/2 % on the next $4,000,000, and 2% on any amount above $5,000,000. Banks and Trust Companies may charge more for their services as Executors and Trustees, and particularly as money managers. After all the assets have been collected and the debts and taxes have been paid, the Executor is responsible for distributing the remainder of the estate assets in accordance with the terms of the will. Given that there may be unforeseen circumstances such as outstanding debts, it is important that the beneficiaries agree in writing, before any assets are distributed, that they will return assets to the estate if the Executor requests refunding. Otherwise, the Executor may be held personally responsible for payment of the debts. Given the concerns discussed herein, it is important to discuss these issues and look at one’s overall estate plan with a qualified attorney prior to executing a will. Ronald A. Fatoullah, Esq. is the principal of Ronald Fatoullah & Associates, a law firm that exclusively concentrates in elder law, estate planning, Medicaid planning, guardianships, estate administration, trusts, wills, and real estate. Stacey Meshnick, Esq. is a senior staff attorney at the firm who has chaired the firm’s Medicaid department for over 15 years. The law firm can be reached at 718-261-1700, 516-466-4422, or toll free at 1-877-ELDER-LAW or 1-877-ESTATES. Mr. Fatoullah is also the co-founder of JR Wealth Advisors, LLC. The wealth management firm can be reached at 516-466-3300 or 800-353- 3775. elder law ROnald Fatoulah ESQ, CELA* ADVERTORIAL City Tech students spend summer in high-tech internships It is a familiar stereotype: the unpaid, harried intern dashing to pick-up the boss’s dry-cleaning and morning coffee. For City Tech student interns, however, the scene could not be more different. They enjoy paid collaborative work and learning in an open, high-tech setting, with supervisors who have coffee with their interns and even mentor them long after the internship ends. This summer, 50 City Tech students and 35 companies participated in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Internship Program (BTTIP), which connects Brooklyn’s growing tech and media sectors to technically skilled interns, including web developers and programmers, media specialists, designers, and engineering technologists. BTTIP is sponsored by the NYC Department of Small Business Services and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and operated in partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard and City Tech. “This internship really focused my interest in video editing,” said Hui Maggie Su, design intern at WeDidIt, a fundraising platform for nonprofits. “I never knew I could be this fluent in the Adobe software.” Su’s internship experience at WeDidIt also gave her insight into the process of creating a technology start-up, which she plans on doing when she graduates from City Tech’s Emerging Media program. Mandy Mei’s summer internship at Infor (not a part of the BTTIP), a Manhattan-based company that develops business software, landed her a speaking role at the company’s industry-wide conference — Inforum 2014 — in New Orleans. Mei, a Communication Design major, will talk about Infor’s newly launched internship program and her work on brand design, which included creating the blog for Infor’s creative department called Hook & Loop. City Tech’s highly proactive approach to career and professional development brings together placement services, an extensive program of internships, and assistance in making decisions about graduate schools into a single dynamic center. The center also helps manage the broad array of voluntary community assistance projects that enable students to apply their knowledge, test their skills, and put what they are learning in the classroom to good use in the service of others. ADVERTORIAL City Tech students take first place in international design competition in Shanghai, China This spring, City Tech students Eugene Babkin, Bijan Mokhtari and Angjelo Kuka won first place in the regional Digilent Design competition hosted by City Tech. With that win, they earned the opportunity to compete in the Digilent Design Worldwide Contest in Shanghai, China, where they again took first place in August. The City Tech team competed against 12 teams: six from China, one from Japan, two from Romania, one from Hungary, and one other team from the United States — the U.S. Air Force Academy, which had finished second in the U.S. competition. The Digilent Design Contest is an international hardware design competition open to students who are passionate about electronics, digital design and electrical engineering in general. The contest provides an opportunity for students to present their work and receive feedback from international industry representatives. “China was beautiful, the people were lovely and the food was delicious. Above all, it was a pleasure participating in the Digilent competition, and I am thrilled to take home first place,” said Babkin, the only student able to travel to China to present the team’s design. Teammate Mokhtari had already left for Finland to pursue his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Aalto University in Helsinki, and Kuka was unable to make the trip. The City Tech team developed TOBiAS (Tele-Operated Bi-Manual Augmented System), a virtual realitystyle immersive experience that allows human input to dictate the movement of a remote robotic torso. TOBiAS reads the movement of the operator sitting inside it and mirrors the movements. Somewhat similar to an exo-suit, the operator straps the control arms and gloves to his/her arms, wears the helmet and controls the robot. The hand-control units on TOBiAS were made with 3-D printer technology. Applications include nuclear clean-up, explosive handling and disposal, and exploration of unknown territories. The team and their faculty advisor credit City Tech’s Mechatronics Technology Center (MTC), where they had access to state-of-the-art technology, for providing the tools needed to create their design. “The MTC, funded by the National Science Foundation, created a platform for students from different engineering fields to collaborate, and that, in part, made it possible for the TOBiAS team to win the top prize,” said Professor Andy Zhang, Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology.
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