More New York City Probate FAQ

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 force a 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 and make an appointment to discuss your estate administration or probate proceeding.

Attorney Albert Goodwin

Law Offices of
Albert Goodwin, PLLC
31 W 34 Str, Suite 7058
New York, NY 10001

Tel. 212-233-1233

[email protected]

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