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Estates and Trusts
St. Johns University School of Law
Parella, Robert E.

I. NY Const. Art. VI §12: created constitutional surrogate’s court
A. Jurisdiction over property of infants (-18)
B. Legislature may grant additional jurisdiction to Surrogate’s Court
1. In addition to guardianship proceedings, surrogate has jurisdiction over adoptions
2. Common trust funds: like mutual funds but it is where property is deposited with a bank
3. NY has a procedure to appoint somebody to become the conservator or committee to handle the affairs of a person under disability
a) Conservator: supposed to represent property, but allowed to represent property AND person (medical choices, etc.)
4. Article 81 of Mental Hygiene Law: eliminates conservators
a) If someone is under a disability and person is proceeding in surrogates court and no other court has appointed a new guardian, then surrogates court has jurisdiction
5. NY does not have many inter vivos trusts for estate planning
a) Mostly tax reasons: give away assets during your lifetime by way of revocable trusts or irrevocable trusts
(1) Surrogates court has jurisdiction over revocable and irrevocable trusts because it has to do with the affairs of a decedent (constitution gives surrogate jurisdiction over the affairs of a decedent)
(a) Appellate courts have always given limited jurisdiction to surrogates court
b) Legislature gave jurisdiction to surrogates over all inter vivos trusts of living and deceased people
C. Matter of Figgione: Surrogate now has all jurisdiction over any matter that involves the affairs of the estate
A. Article 1
1. Surrogate’s court follows more the federal rules rather than the CPLR (more liberal)
2. If it is not named in SCPA, then CPLR controls
3. Surrogate’s court is allowed to promulgate rules and regulations (must be in conformity with the statute)
4. Definitions
a) Acknowledgment: must say that filing is truthful
b) Testate: have will, have executor handle estate
c) Intestate: no will, admini

up during lifetime (can be revocable or irrevocable)
(3) Surrogate’s court has jurisdiction over both
y) Codicil: amendment to a will (creates standing to one who would otherwise have standing to contest will)
B. Article 2: Jurisdiction & Powers
1. §201: surrogate’s court is a constitutional court of limited jurisdiction (over legal and equity matters)
a) Unless legislature gives it, surrogate does not have power over disputes between living people
b) Gives certain jurisdiction that the court did not have under the constitution
c) Ways to get personal jurisdiction:
(1) Get party to submit to jurisdiction of surrogate
(2) Serve party with citation
(3) Long-arm statute (broader than CPLR): in rem
d) Quasi-legislate: through caselaw, court creates policy (equity)