Albert Goodwin, Esq. is a New York probate attorney who helps administrators and executors close out and settle estates. Our knowledge of the court system allows us to close and settle matters in New York Surrogate’s Court without unneeded expenses and delays. Call (212) 233-1233 or (718) 509-9774 for more information.
The probate process has many components. If you are the person in charge of the estate and are going to be probating a will here’s roughly what the process would look like:
- you get appointed by the court to be in charge of the estate
- you locate estate property
- pay the decedent’s debts and taxes
- resolve any disagreements
- and finally distribute the remainder of the property to the heirs
Those probate process steps can vary and they can overlap. To be successful, you’d have to carefully complete each one of those steps. You would greatly benefit from having a New York probate attorney represent your throughout the process.
The probate process can be difficult to navigate. It is filled with technicalities, deadlines, traps for the unwary and red tape. For that reason, you want to have a New York probate lawyer navigate you through the process, whether someone died without a will or you are probating a will.
What Your New York Probate Attorney Can Do For You
Here are some of the things that your New York probate attorney will do:
- fill out the petition
- obtain all the supporting documents
- submit the petition and the supporting documents to the court
- attend court hearings
- follow through to make sure that you are appointed as the personal representative
- locate assets
- value assets
- deal with disagreements
- draft and submit an estate accounting
- defend estate accounting
- conduct a trial
If your estate has disagreements, seek the services of an estate litigation attorney with a proven track record of results. This is crucial for your best chance of getting the inheritance that you are entitled to.
If all goes well, you should be able to
- have the court appoint you as the personal representative
- marshal the assets
- pay the claims
- resolve any disagreements and
- distribute the assets to the right heirs and in the right amount
Since estate matters are complex and most people do not understand them and they are not trained to resolve probate issues on their own, the services of an experienced New York State probate attorney is usually required. An attorney who is experienced in handling probate matters, is knowledgeable about New York State and federal tax and inheritance laws will be able to assist you with resolving your probate and estate matters in New York Surrogate’s Court in an efficient and quick manner.
Whether you are an executor, administrator, beneficiary or creditor of an estate, winding up an estate involves many aspects. A New York probate attorney understands the probate timelines and can facilitate the process for you by handling the following aspects of the probate of your estate:
- Determination of whether there is a will
- Reading of the will
- Obtaining the death certificate
- Filing the probate petition in the Surrogate’s court
- Obtaining the Letters Testamentary
- Compiling an inventory of the estate assets, list of creditors and obtaining personal and real property appraisals
- Assisting with the selling of assets, payment to creditors and distribution of assets to beneficiaries
- Helping resolve disputes amongst heirs or beneficiaries that may arise
- Winding up and closing of the estate
Since every estate involves different matters and unexpected situations may arise that family members are not prepared to deal with at such a delicate and emotional time of their lives, having an experienced probate attorney handle your estate will be more efficient, less stressful and save you time and money, especially on estates where there are substantial assets involved requiring the sale of real estate in one or more states, stocks, bonds, and other personal property, distributions to charities and beneficiaries, including children from previous marriages and current and ex-spouses.
Here are some of the questions that we are most frequently asked:
How long should probate take?
It is best to wait at least 7 months before closing the proceeding because that is the cutoff point for creditors to make claims against the estate. This is the shortest time it can take, but just as any lawsuit, it can take years if there is a disagreement among interested parties. See the sample probate timeline for more information.
What is the deadline to finish up probate?
Probate should be finished up within a reasonable timeframe. However, what is reasonable can vary depending on the complexity of the case. Disagreements between the parties will prolong the probate process.
What is the deadline to file a will or probate a will?
Although there is no deadline to file or probate a will in New York, it should be done as soon as possible. If the will is not filed within a reasonable time period and a party or a creditor will be disadvantaged as a result, the court will penalize the will holders and credit the disadvantaged party or creditor.
I think my relative is hiding the Will. What can I do?
In a probate proceeding, you can ask your New York probate attorney to file a proceeding to compel that person to produce the will.
Does the estate have to pay executors’ fees?
The executor is entitled to a fee, called a “commission.” It is based on the value of the estate, according to the following schedule:
5% of the first $100,000
4% of the next $200,000
3% of the next $700,000
2 ½% of the next $4,000,000
2% above $5,000,000
However, if the executor also benefits under the will, it might be a good idea to waive the commissions, to save on income taxes.
What happens if a person mentioned in the will is no longer living?
Most wills specify what would happen in this event. If the will is silent on the topic, the children of the person mentioned in the will get the share, but only that person’s children are the testator’s grandchildren or nephews/nieces.
My father divorced his first wife but did not get a chance to change the Will. Will she inherit?
The gift to the former spouse is not valid. However, if the spouse’s children are in the Will, they do get the gift.
I was adopted after a will was executed, and was not mentioned in the Will. Will I inherit?
Yes. The adopted child’s share comes out of the other sibling’s share (this only works if the child was adopted after the will was executed).
Call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233 or (718) 509-9774 and make an appointment with a New York probate attorney to discuss your probate proceeding.