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Appealing a Surrogate’s Court Judgment on Long Island

How to Move Forward When You Disagree With the Court’s Decision

Appeals are relatively common in all areas of the law because they offer a party to a legal matter to have another court review a decision to make sure that it is proper. In Long Island, Surrogate’s Court decisions, like all court decisions in Nassau and Suffolk counties are heard at the Second Department Supreme Court in Brooklyn (where we also have an office). Regardless of the kind of decision that you wish to appeal in your probate matter, there are very specific rules and guidelines that you must follow and a real knowledge of the law is needed. Because of that, you should hire a Long Island estate attorney to handle your probate appeal.

One of the most important things that must be kept in mind if you wish to appeal a Surrogate’s Court decision is that there is a time limit on when you have to give notice that you are making an appeal. You have 30 days from the time a ruling is formally entered to file the correct paperwork for starting your appeal in the Second Department and all other departments in New York. However, this does not mean to say that you should just bring your paperwork in on day 30, by any means. You should submit your paperwork as soon as you can after you learn of the ruling. That way, if there is a clerical mistake or other issue with the paperwork, or if you are miscalculating the deadline, there will be a timely filing without the deadline passing.

In order to appeal a Surrogate’s Court matter, you have to have the standing to do so. This would mean that you would either need to be a creditor of the decedent or a named beneficiary or legal heir, and you should be affected by the decision. Not having legal standing will bar you from filing an appeal.

Also, it should be kept in mind that the appellate courts do not make a decision on the facts on the case usually, but rather on procedural issues or on whether or not the judge interpreted the law correctly. This means that, when you appeal a probate matter, testimony will not be taken again, for example. Rather, the appellate court will review the record of the case, such as the evidence that was entered in the initial hearing or trial, transcripts, written orders by the judge and similar materials.

Usually, an appellate decision is based on a legal brief and an oral argument done by an attorney. There are very specific ways that this is done, and the rules and procedures can be different from court to court. Legal counsel is needed for an appeal to have the highest chance of that appeal being successful. Due to that, a skilled Long Island estate attorney who has experience before the Second Division Court of Appeals is necessary whenever you are hoping to appeal a Surrogate’s Court matter. If you are considering appealing a case, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (516) 777-0647.