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Queens Surrogate Court Fees

Queens Surrogate’s Court Fees are stated in the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 2402. Here is the list of fees by procedure, for easy reference:

7. The fee schedule for subdivision 1 through 7 inclusive is as follows:

Value of Estate or Subject Matter Fee Rate
Less than $ 10,000 $ 45.00
10,000 but under 20,000 75.00
20,000 but under 50,000 215.00
50,000 but under 100,000 280.00
100,000 but under 250,000 420.00
250,000 but under 500,000 625.00
500,000 and over 1,250.00

8. (a) For filing a petition to commence the following proceedings, the fee shall be as indicated:

SCPA Fee Rate
607 To punish respondent for contempt $ 30.00
711 Suspend, modify, revoke letters or remove a fiduciary other than a custodian or guardian 75.00
711 Suspend, modify, revoke letters or remove a custodian or guardian 30.00
715 Application of fiduciary to resign 30.00
717 Suspend powers-fiduciary in war 0.00
1401 Compel production of will 20.00
1420 Construction of will 75.00
1421 Determination of right of election 75.00
1502 Appointment of trustee 45.00
1508 Release against state 50.00
1703 Appointment of guardian 20.00
2003 Open safe deposit box 20.00
2102 Proceedings against a fiduciary 20.00
2103 Proceedings by fiduciary to discover property 75.00
2107 Advice and directions 75.00
2108 Continue business 45.00
2114 Review corporate trustee compensation 10.00
2205 Petition to compel fiduciary to account 30.00
EPTL 7-4.6 Appointment of successor custodian 20.00

(b) For filing a petition to commence a proceeding for the appointment of a trustee of a lifetime trust or for the appointment of a conservator, the fee shall be the same as that which is payable in the supreme court pursuant to section eight thousand eighteen of the civil practice law and rules.

9. For filing:

(i) a demand for trial by jury in any proceeding, SCPA 502 $ 150.00
(ii) objections to the probate of a will SCPA 1410 150.00
(iii) a note of issue in any proceeding 45.00
(iv) objection or answer in any action or proceeding other than probate 75.00
(v) a will for safekeeping pursuant to section 2507 of this act except that the court in any county may reduce or dispense with such fee 45.00
(vi) a bond, including any additional bond:
less than $ 10,000 20.00$
10,000 and over 30.00

10.

For furnishing a transcript of a decree $20.00

11.

For a certificate of letters evidencing that the appointment of a fiduciary is still in full force and effect: $ 6.00

12.

(a) For making and certifying or comparing and certifying a copy of a will or any paper on file or recorded in his office: $ 6.00 pg.
(b) Authenticating the same, additional: $ 20.00

13.

For searching and certifying to any record
for which search is made:
$ 30.00 for under 25 years$ 90.00 for over 25 years

14.

(a) For producing papers, documents, books of record on
file in his office under a subpoena duces tecum,
for use within the county where the office
of the court is situated:
$ 30.00
(b) for use in any other county, such fee to be paid for
each day or part thereof that the messenger is
detailed from the office and to be in addition
to mileage fee and the necessary expenses of the
messenger. The clerk
of the court shall not be
required to make any collection or return of
the money so paid for expenses:
$ .30

15. For recording:

(a) any instrument, decree or other
paper which is required by law
to be recorded:
$ 8.00 per pg. or part $ 16.00 minimum
(b) for filing an authenticated copy of
a foreign will:
$ 8.00 per pg. $ 64.00 minimum
(c) for taxing bill of costs: 15.00

The table above contains Queens Surrogate’s Court fees. If you need representation in a Queens estate proceeding, contact the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.

Queens Probate Process

How Does Queens Probate Process Work

Queens probate process has many components. If you are the person in charge of the estate and are going to be probating a will or doing probate without a will in Queens, 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 Queens probate process steps can vary and they can overlap. To be successful, you’d have to to carefully complete each one of those steps. You would greatly benefit from having a lawyer represent your throughout the process.

Become the Personal Representative

You cannot collect and distribute the inheritance until you are appointed by the court to be in charge of the estate. Once appointed, you are called the “personal representative.”

Remember, just because you are nominated as the executor by the will or are the closest of kin does not automatically make you a personal representative. Probating a will in Queens means applying to the Surrogate’s Court of the county where the deceased person resided and have the court approve that application. Same with probate in Queens without a will. That’s Queens probate procedure. Once the court approves your application, the court will issue you an official certificate from the State of Queens, which gives you an official capacity to act on behalf of the estate.

As part of Queens probate process, you can apply to become the personal representative if you are the executor nominated by the will. If there is no will, you can apply to be in charge of the estate if you are the closest relative who has the preference.

In Queens, a personal representative is called “an executor” if there is a will and “an administrator” if there is no will. That’s just the terminology in Queens probate procedure. In reality, there is little functional difference between “executor” and “administrator.”

Locate the Assets of the Estate

Once the court appoints you as the personal representative of an estate, you will need to figure out what assets the estate consists of. Most decedents do not leave behind a complete and updated list of their assets, so you’ll have to do some hunting and legwork.

The decedent’s place of residence is the best place to find documents showing what the decedent owned. Review the decedent’s financial statements, deeds, titles, stock certificates, bond certificates, and any contracts or financial documents.

Tax returns are very useful for finding assets.

If you find the contact information of the decedent’s financial advisors, accountants and attorneys, great! Get in touch with them. Use your authority as a personal representative to have those professionals supply you with information about the decedent’s assets.

As part of Queens probate process, you should review the decedent’s financial statements for signs of assets that you could have missed. Financial statements can contain transfers to bank accounts or payment of expenses for properties. Make a list of those bank accounts and properties and follow up on them.

File an Inventory of the Estate With the Court

As part of Queens probate process and probating a will in Queens, you need to file an inventory of the estate within six month of being appointed as the personal representative (Form 207.20). It’s a legal form that any estate attorney has. The inventory’s main feature is a list of the assets that you were able to find. This is an important part of Queens probate process.

Keep Paying Mortgages and Utilities

You will need to inform the bank that the owner died and have the bank reflect on the account that the mortgage will be paid by the estate. You will also have to keep paying the utility bills.

Taxes

Most estates are not large enough to trigger an estate tax liability. However, if the estate is more than $1 million, it is best to consult with an estate attorney to find out if there are any estate tax forms that you need to fill out. For some estates, you would need to fill out tax forms even if no estate tax is due.

It is possible that the decedent had past tax debt, such as Federal or State income tax. If you find out that the decedent owed back taxes, you would have to pay the back taxes from the estate.

Paying the Decedent’s Debts

In the process of locating the assets of the estate, you may have also located the debts. If anything, debts are usually easier to locate than assets! You and the beneficiaries of the estate are not personally responsible for the decedent’s debts. But it is your responsibility as the personal representative to pay those debts out of the estate.

The decedent’s debts may include attorneys’ fees for work done on the estate, credit card bills, medical bills, utility bill, etc. Do not ignore those debts and do not distribute the assets to beneficiaries instead of paying creditors. You do not want to give the creditors the right to go after you personally.

In addition to debts that you have discovered, there may be other debts that you were not able to see. You may see creditors making claims in an estate. If that happens, you have the option of paying the claim or denying the claim and forcing the creditors to prove that the claim is valid. Creditors have seven months to submit claims. If they miss that deadline, their claims become null and void. As part of Queens probate process, you should take creditors seriously.

Calculating Your Commissions

As a personal representative, you are entitled to commissions as part of Queens probate process, at the following percentages:

• 5% of all sums of money not exceeding $100,000
• 4% of all sums not exceeding $200,000
• 3% of all sums not exceeding $700,000
• 2.5% of all sums not exceeding $4,000,000
• 2% of all sums not exceeding $5,000,000

Ask your estate lawyer for what is included in the base amount used to calculate the commissions. You can disburse those commissions to yourself before distributing assets.

Getting a Release from Beneficiaries

One of the most important aspects of Queens probate process is to get a consent and release from the beneficiaries to have it in writing that they are satisfied with what they are receiving form the estate and to make sure that they do not have the ability to sue you right after they get their distribution.

Distributing the Assets

This is the part of Queens probate process that everyone has been looking forward to! You have payed all the debts of the estate, filed your inventory in six months, waited until seven months are up after you are appointed, payed any taxes due and did everything else you had to do as an executor. You are almost ready to distribute the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries. But before you do so, make sure that you prepare an informal accounting and have the beneficiaries sign waivers and releases prepared by your estate attorney. You want them to agree in writing not to sue you after receiving the distributions. You do not want to have a beneficiary receive money from the estate and then use that money to get their own estate lawyer and sue you.

You can distribute assets “in kind” or as money. If you have doubts as to how you should distribute your assets, you need to work with your attorney, the beneficiaries and their attorneys to figure it out. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and there are no disagreements.

Always have all agreements in writing, do not take anyone at their word alone. The best way to do this is to have your estate attorney prepare an “informal accounting” which outlines the proposed distribution and have all of the beneficiaries sign it. This way they agree not to change their mind later and turn around and sue you.

Some Property Does Not Need Probate

Some property already has an after-death owner. That type of property is not part of Queens probate process. Examples include:

  • Joint Bank Account. If the decedent had a joint bank account, the remaining co-owner just takes over. The remaining co-owner can bring the death certificate to the bank and have the bank remove the decedent’s name from the bank account.
  • Assigned Beneficiaries. If the decedent had a bank account or a life insurance policy with named beneficiaries, the bank will disburse the funds directly to the beneficiaries. All the beneficiaries will need to do is go to the bank, show the death certificate and fill out some paperwork.
  • Real Estate Owned With Spouse. If the decedent owned a house together with their spouse, the house goes to the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse needs to go to the county recorder’s office, show the clerk the death certificate, and fill out some paperwork and the county recorder will transfer the house to the surviving spouse’s name.

You can’t always tell if the property is part of Queens probate process or not. In fact, we often see disagreements between various parties regarding whether or not a property is part of Queens probate process. If you have any doubt over ownership or probate status of the property, ask your estate attorney.

Dealing with Disagreements in Queens Probate Process

Queens Probate Process

As part of Queens probate process, you will have to give notice of the proceeding to everyone potentially interested in the estate, such as spouse, children or siblings. Upon receiving the news, some beneficiaries may decide to object. They may claim that either the will is invalid or you are unfit to serve as a personal representative.

If someone objects to you becoming in charge of the estate, you will need to have an experienced estate attorney defend the objections. You want to make sure that you are appointed as a personal representative of the estate despite the beneficiaries’ allegations.

You will not become a full personal representative until you resolve the objections to your appointment, either through the court or through negotiations. The court may still grant you limited temporary powers to manage the estate. But you will not be able to make any distributions to beneficiaries and heirs until the court resolves all objections to your appointment.

If you succeed and the court appoints you as the personal representative but the beneficiaries disagree with the way you want to distribute the assets, they will demand that you file a complete formal accounting. They may then object to the accounting. In the ensuing contested accounting proceeding, the beneficiaries would try to prove that you are not disclosing estate assets or that you are not distributing the assets in the correct way.

You will need an experienced estate lawyer to represent you in that process. The lawyer will make sure that the beneficiaries get only what they are entitled to.

The Role of the Estate Lawyer in Queens Probate Process

Queens 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 Queens estate lawyer navigate you through the probate process, whether someone is died without a will or you are probating a will.

Here are some of the things that the estate lawyer will do as part of Queens probate process:

  • 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

If you are looking for an estate lawyer who will make Queens process easier and help you defend yourself and protect your rights, give me a call right now at (212) 233-1233.

Queens Estate Lawyer

A Queens estate lawyer is involved in determining what happens with a person’s property after they die in Queens. In places like Queens, where estate planning can make an impact on who gets your property after your death, estate lawyers get involved way before a person dies, sometimes decades before. A Queens estate lawyer can perform a variety of functions, depending on the stage of the estate process, whom the lawyer represents, what legal documents are involved and what the relationship between the person who died and their family and friends is.

Estate Planning. A Queens estate lawyer writes up the documents that determine what happens to a person’s property after their death. An estate planning lawyer’s function is to set up what is referred to an estate planning package, which may include a will, a trust, a power of attorney, what we refer to in Queens as a health care proxy, and a living will. They would talk to the client and see what they want to happen to their estate after their death, and will then draft the appropriate documents and make sure that the person making the plan signs the estate planning documents correctly, all the formalities required for the documents are followed, and all of the documents that need to be filed are filed in the appropriate government agency.

Probate of an Estate. A Queens estate lawyer represents the people involved in the probate process, which is a court proceeding to determine if a deceased person’s will is valid. Most probate proceedings are uncontested, meaning that the estate lawyer would simply submit an application to admit the will to probate and notify everyone involved, the judge would review the petition and the will gets admitted to probate, meaning that the executor nominated by the will gets appointed to be the executor. The estate lawyer would then make sure that the executor performs their job correctly.

Administration of an Estate. If an estate lawyer was not involved until a person died, and the person died without a will, the court proceeding where it gets decided what happens to their assets after their death is called “estate administration.” The Queens estate lawyer would help the relatives of the person who died become the administrator of the estate. He would fill out the appropriate documents and submit the documents to court. After the relative gets appointed as the estate administrator, the estate lawyer would make sure that the administrator carries out their duties in accordance with the law.

Contesting a Will. When someone is left out of a will, a Queens estate lawyer would help that person contest a will. He would try to prove to the court that the person who died either did not have the mental capacity to make a will, was unduly influenced into making a will, or the will was not made correctly. A different estate lawyer would represent the person who filed the will with the court – defending the will and trying to prove that the will has not defects that would render it invalid.

Contested Accounting. When a beneficiary of an estate suspects that the executor is mismanaging assets of the estate or stole something from the estate, even before the death of the decedent, an estate lawyer would help the beneficiary file a petition for an accounting. A different Queens estate lawyer, representing the executor of the estate, will help the executor prepare an accounting of the estate, which is a statement of the assets that are in the estate and the expenses that the estate incurred. The estate lawyer for the beneficiaries can then object to the accounting and ask the court to make the executor return money that they allegedly took from the estate improperly.

The Judge of the Surrogate’s Court is also a Queens estate lawyer, since they are a lawyer who is dealing with estates on professional basis. The same holds true for many other staff of the Surrogate’s Court, including court attorneys and clerks.

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Albert Goodwin, Esq., a Queens estate, guardianship, wills, trust, medicaid and probate lawyer with over a decade of experience. He can be reached at (718) 509-9774.

Queens County Surrogate’s Court

Queens County Surrogate’s Court deals with estates, trusts, guardianships and adoptions of people who reside or have property in Queens, New York.

Address

Queens County Surrogate’s Court
88-11 Sutphin Blvd.
Jamaica, NY 11435

Main Phone: 718-298-0500

Queens County Surrogate's Court

Department Phone Directory

The preferred policy of the Queens County Surrogate’s Court is to not discuss the specifics of a case over the phone. They prefer to use email.

Department Phone Number Email Address
Miscellaneous 718-298-0438 qnssurr-misc@nycourts.gov
Accounting 718-298-0432 qnssurr-acct@nycourts.gov
Guardianship/Adoption 718-298-0426 qnssurr-guard@nycourts.gov
Probate 718-298-0436 qnssurr-probate@nycourts.gov
Administration/Small Estates 718-298-0434 qnssurr-admin@nycourts.gov
Calendar Clerk 718-298-1801
Records 718-298-0440 qnssurr-records@nycourts.gov
Cashier 718-298-0446
Help Center qnssurr-helpcenter@nycourts.gov

Directions to Queens County Surrogate’s Court

Enter your starting address:

Subway:  F, E and J trains to Sutphin Boulevard

LIRR:  Jamaica Station stop

The Surrogate’s Court is located on the 6th and 7th floors of the Supreme Court building. The courtroom is located on the 6th floor, and the clerks of the various departments are located on the 7th floor.

Hours of Work

Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

All departments are closed from 1 to 2 for lunch break.

Some clerks may leave early at the end of the day. Filings towards the end of the day is not a good idea, especially on a Friday.

The court is closed on all state holidays.

Judge of Queens County Surrogate’s Court

Judge Peter J. Kelly Queens County Surrogate's Court

Hon. Peter J. Kelly. Judge Kelly has been the Queens County Surrogate’s Court judge since the year 2011. He is a tough but fair judge, and will not tolerate nonsense.

Judge Peter J. Kelly has a staff of clerks who help him analyze cases and conduct pre-trial, scheduling and settlement conferences.

Chief Clerk
James Lim Becker

Departments

Queens County Surrogate’s Court deals through its various departments with the following matters:

Probate – Queens County Surrogate’s Court handles estate proceedings involving a will. That’s why some people call it “Queens Probate Court.” Most probate proceedings are uncontested. The person who brings in the will (the proponent) submits the will, has their New York estate lawyer fill out the appropriate paperwork and files the original will in the Queens Surrogate’s Court, together with a petition, original death certificate, funeral bill and accompanying affidavits and notices. The court will set a date for the hearing on the probate of the will, and if no one appears, then the court will grant the probate. If someone does appear, then the estate is contested, and the examinations of the attesting witnesses and the attorney-draftsman of the will are scheduled, and the cases go on a contested track.

Estate Administration – Queens County Surrogate’s Court handles estates where the person who died did not have a will. The person who is the closest relative of the deceased is appointed as the administrator of their estate. If the decedent is survived by a spouse, the spouse is usually appointed as the administrator. If no spouse, then children. And so on.

Cashier Department deals with Certificates, Certifications, and Record Searches.

Guardianship – Queens County Surrogate Court handles Guardianships. There are two kinds of guardianships – those involving a mentally disabled (special needs) minor (those guardianships are known as 17-a), and guardianships of older adults who have become mentally incompetent due to illness (this is known as Mental Health Law Article 81 guardianships)

Adoptions – Queens County Surrogate’s Court also handles adoptions, whether of regular adoptions, step-parent and family adoptions and adoptions from foreign countries, involving both infants and older children.

Accountings – this department handles accountings filed by executors and administrators of estates and trustees of trusts. Accountings are usually compelled by beneficiaries interested in the trust or an estate, through a Miscellaneous proceeding.

Inventory of Assets Department – this department deals with an inventory of assets, which is to be filed no later than 9 months of the date letters issued to fiduciary.

Record Room – Records are available on the computers located in the record room and on the computer. It is not possible to access those records online through the internet without an attorney account.

You can request information about an estate by writing them a letter with the correct legal name of the person who died, and include a check for $30 made out to Queens County Surrogate’s Court, and either a return stamped envelope or your email address to receive the information.

Queens County Miscellaneous Proceedings – Queens County Surrogate’s Court Miscellaneous department handles Affidavits of Service and Applications to Open Safe Deposit Boxes and Sealed Apartments. It also handles other proceedings, such determining kinship in an estate that has distant relatives, advice and direction, compel fiduciary to account, compel the production of a will or a trust, proceedings by a Queens fiduciary to discover property, proceeding to remove executor, proceeding to remove administrator, proceeding to remove trustee, proceeding by fiduciary of estate to discover property, etc. Fees for those proceedings can be found here.

If you need an attorney for Queens County Surrogate’s Court, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We have offices in Queens, NY. You can call us at 718-509-9774 or send us an email at attorneyalbertgoodwin@gmail.com.