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What is Probate? And How Often Should I Update My New York Will?

The word probate sounds like a discount you might get at a store…”it’s not a rebate but it’s a probate, you know they give you the cash back right there at the register you don’t even have to mail it in” But seriously, a probate proceeding in New York is a Surrogate’s Court proceeding to judicially determine whether the testator’s will was validly executed and to distribute the assets and deal with creditors and other issues. Additionally this proceeding appoints an executor to administer the estate. I realize that’s a bit of a mouthful…In case you’re not familiar with the terms testator just means the person who passed away that had a will. And beneficiary means the person(s) who were listed in the testator’s will.

As a rule of thumb, you should update your will as often as you need to. There are certain types of things that might want you to change your will such as. A financial gain or windfall. If you win the lottery that might seriously alter your intentions about the gifts in your will…perhaps you want to add people or increase beneficiaries gifts. Additionally at that point you might want to consider other options such as an estate or trust.

Another such example is if you get married, divorced or have additional children. These are all things which can effect how your will is interpreted. Individual circumstances vary and that’s why it’s important to speak with a good estate attorney who will understand your needs and give you good estate planning advice.

If you need estate planning advice from a New York attorney, contact Albert Goodwin at 718-509-9774.