RPR&C In The Media


New York Times – “Ask Real Estate,” Co-ops With No Trust – quote by Jerry Reisman

February 2, 2014 Posted in: RPR&C In The Media


By Ronda Kaysen

Ask Real Estate is a new weekly online column that answers questions from across the New York region. Submit yours to realestateqa@nytimes.com.

Co-ops With No Trust

Q. My co-op board does not allow shareholders to put their shares in a trust. Because of this restriction, when a shareholder dies, the heirs must go through probate court. This could delay the sale of an apartment, requiring the estate to continue to pay maintenance, which would be costly and time-consuming for the heirs. Is there any solution to this problem? Is there a trend away from this position among some co-op boards?

Upper West Side, New York

A. It’s kind of you to be so concerned about the bureaucratic headaches that await your future heirs. But rest assured that if they want to unload your apartment after your demise, probate is not going to be the problem. By the time they’re done cleaning out your belongings, finding a broker, staging the property and enticing a buyer, probate will be over.

“Probate in New York is quick, it’s efficient; in four to six weeks they’re out,” said Jerome Reisman, an estate and trust lawyer.

Where a trust comes in handy is in helping shield the shares of a home from taxes. But co-ops have a long tradition of opposing trusts. Many bristle at the idea of a shareholder’s shifting ownership to another entity.

That said, however, the tide does seem to be shifting. Some newer Manhattan co-ops, particularly downtown, are more open to the idea, according to Mary Cronquist, a real estate lawyer. Enlist some of your neighbors to press the board to reconsider the rule, because the change would benefit their estates as well. Remind them that even a co-op board member can’t escape death and taxes.