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Probate NYC Lawyers

When your loved one passes away, it is highly likely that some or all of his estate will go through probate. This process can be quite time consuming and complicated, requiring the assistance of probate NYC lawyers.

Our probate lawyers can review the estate and advise you on the best way to transfer property to the heirs.

However, before we handle your issue, we need to tell you more about probate and the process.

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Generally, executors feel that settling the estate is neither easy nor hard to understand; those that feel it is easy to comprehend usually attribute this to the help they get from professionals.

Marianna Schwartsman

Probate in NYC

When a person passes away, someone must wind up their estate, i.e. their cash, possessions, and debts.

Probate in NYC is a court-supervised process that defines how you need to handle the estates left behind by the will-maker. The executor’s role is to identify the assets, secure them, and identify beneficiaries and creditors. You need to pay any debts that have accrued before distributing the remaining properties to the rightful heirs.

In short, probate is the process that allows the executor to retitle the decedent’s assets into the names of the beneficiaries.

All estates in NYC require formal probate administration unless the assets were jointly titled, or they use payable on death titles to the surviving beneficiary. If the estate is located outside NYC, it is necessary to open ancillary probate proceedings in the different states where the assets are located.

The formal probate process is a long and complicated process that needs you to have an NYC probate lawyer to assist you with various steps.

The person entitled to winding up the estate depends so much on whether the decedent left behind a will or not or left behind a codicil appointing the executor while still alive. A codicil is a document that is separate from a will, but that is similarly signed and completed then added to the will to amend it.

If it is found out that the decedent left a will or a codicil, but it is nowhere to be found, then some checks might be made, and the court might prove that a will existed.

If the will or codicil is found, it is necessary to consider:

  • If the decedent was in the necessary legal capacity to draft a will when he made one.
  • Whether the necessary formalities were followed when making the will.
  • Whether the will is valid or it has been previously revoked in a different court.
  • The legal effects of the will.

If you are in doubt about any issue regarding the will, you can call us so that we can check it out and tell you whether it will stand in a probate court.

When is Probate Necessary in NYC?

Probate is necessary if the decedent had property in the state before death. This is true because some assets can pass directly to the beneficiary without going through probate.

Contrary to popular belief, probate is necessary whether a will is present or not. The will doesn’t eliminate the need for probate; rather, it becomes the primary document used in the probate process.

If a person passes on without a will, the estate’s distribution is determined by the probate court in NYC. If a person dies with a will, the property will pass on to the people who are named in the will as the rightful heirs. If a person challenges the validity of the will, a process called contesting the validity of the will, then the probate court has the role of determining whether the will stands and who is entitled to the property of the decedent.

Types of NYC Probate

In your quest for a fair share of the property, you will come across different probate types. Here we look at a few common types that you can come across.

Independent Administration

This probate procedure is available when the will provides for this type of administration. It can also occur if all the beneficiaries and the probate court agree that the estate is placed under independent administration.

Administration with Dependent Executor

This procedure is ideal when there is a will, but it doesn’t provide specifically for the independent administration of the estate.

Administration with Will Annexed

This procedure is used when there is a will, but this will doesn’t name an executor or names an executor that isn’t able to serve (and there is no alternative executor to serve in their regard).

These are just a few of the probate types that you will come across. If you don’t know what type the estate administration is, call us to discuss the details of the estate, and we shall advise you accordingly.

Understanding Probate Property

Only the assets that are classified under probate property are subject to the process. Probate property includes:

  • Property that is solely in your name.
  • Property that you own in a tenancy in common agreement (ownership without survivorship rights).

How Long Does the Probate Process Last?

The duration the probate process takes depends on a number of factors. The category of assets, the number and size of assets, number of creditors and beneficiaries, and the location of the assets have a huge bearing on the duration of the probate process.

If there are a few assets, no creditors, and you know all the creditors, the estate can be settled in a few months. If the estate has a lot of assets, debts and heirs, then the probate process can drag on for ages without a resolution in sight.

Do You need Probate Lawyers in NYC?

One of the questions you will need to consider is whether you need a lawyer and how much it will cost you to have one.

There are various advantages to work with probate NYC lawyers when you have a will contest or a probate dispute. First, we are particularly familiar with the courts in NYC, and we are conversant with the local court rules. This will save you time when it comes to interpreting the rules.

In case the estate becomes complicated because a beneficiary has lodged a petition or a creditor has filed a claim that you aren’t sure about, it is advantageous to have an attorney who knows the estate better. It is also comforting to have an attorney to turn to that will give you advice and guidance.

Disputes Involving Capacity to Make a Will

For the will to stand in probate court, the testator must have valid testamentary capacity. This means that apart from being 18 years and over, he should also:

  • Understand roughly what drafting of a will means, i.e. the nature of the transaction that he has got himself into.
  • Be capable of what assets he is leaving behind after he passes away.
  • Understand that he has a moral obligation to leave behind the property to benefit the people in the will.
  • Understand the effects the will has on his property.

However, you need to understand that the will won’t be invalid if the testator went insane or lost testamentary capacity after drafting it as long as he had full testamentary capacity at the time he made the will.

Additionally, if in making the will, the testator acted on his own free will without undue influence of another person.

Wills Made by Active Military Personnel

If a military member has drafted the will, then no formalities are required in making it or revoking it. The will can be made at any age, and don’t have to be in writing.

The Probate Court in NYC

To probate a will is to carry out the instructions of the decedent to the latter. This is done in a probate court, which is the place that manages the process. The probate court is managed by a probate court judge, who oversees everything, monitors the different proceedings, and makes sure the decedent’s wishes are followed to the latter.

The use of a written will usually demonstrate these wishes. If there isn’t a will, then the judge uses the probate code relating to intestacy. The code is a state’s version of a will for people that didn’t have time to make one before they died.

Alternatives to Full Probate

When you work with us, you get the chance to explore the different alternatives to full probate. We understand the disadvantages of going all out for probate, which is why we give you different options to reduce the effects of probate.

Before you file full probate, we shall explore all the available options to make the process efficient, both with time and money. We have the ethical duty to you as the client, which means we have the obligation of giving you the best solution to each problem.

A real estate property owned in NYC requires some form of probate unless something has been done before to avoid the probate, such as a living trust.

Misconceptions About Probate

In our work, we come across many misconceptions that make it hard for many people to get the right services as expected. Let us look at them and the truth.

“Probate Takes Many Years”

This is the most common misconception clients have regarding probate. Well, it certainly takes long, but if you work with us, it shouldn’t. This is because we understand the system and how to make it efficient. Our target is seven months unless there is a reason why we should spend more time on the process, or something happens that we don’t have control of.

“Probate is a Tax”

This is another common misconception that we have come across in our job. Many clients think that probate is a tax. Well, while there is a cost that is included based on the cost of the assets, it is not a tax per se. The percentage charged doesn’t go to the government; rather, it is used for attorney fees.

“It is Not Necessary”

Another misconception is that probate is not necessary, that it is a wasted process. Well, it might be true to a certain extent, but there are situations where working with a probate judge and a lawyer makes people honest in their dealings.

Reasons Your Last Probate Process was Problematic

We have been working with clients for many years, helping them navigate the murky waters of probate. Most of our clients have ended up with positive results, while others have seen unfavourable outcomes. Those that had unfavourable outcomes had a few things in common that we look at.

First, those clients who saw an unfavourable result worked with an inexperienced lawyer who was just learning the probate process. Though probate might not be so difficult, it is an art that you develop over time. In our case, we have handled hundreds of cases; therefore, we know the pitfalls and how to handle them when they come. Inexperienced lawyers don’t have the skills.

The sad thing is that when you make a mistake in probate, you will affect the whole process’s outcome. The process also takes more time than necessary.

Another mistake is when you try to go at it alone without probate NYC lawyers. You will end up filing wrong documents or fail to fill out the papers right. Mistakes create issues, and the time piles up.

The last nightmare is when your records go public. People will come out of nowhere to try and have a piece of the pie. Having experienced probate lawyers in NYC will help you handle these issues the right way.

Precautions to Take Before Distributing Assets from Estate Funds

We have seen many executors get into problems because they failed to distribute the estate the right way. To make things easier this time, we give you tips to follow when making distributions to the beneficiaries.

Advertise To Creditors and Claimants

If you haven’t done so already, you need to publish statutory advertisements to creditors and claimants. The aim is to make sure anyone who has a debt with the decedent claims it before the estate is passed on to the beneficiaries.

Confirm Identities and Relationships

An executor that distributes assets wrongly or an incorrect sum will be held responsible. This is usually hard because once a recipient receives the assets, they might not be able to give them back. This is why you need to come up with a family tree that is supported by marriage or birth as appropriate. Don’t base on hearsay to distribute the assets – you will end up in problems.

Unless the people involved are personally known to you, always ask for evidence for identity before you distribute the estate.

Handling Foreign Property

When considering the provisions of a will concerning foreign property, you must consider the foreign law that relates to the property and the making of wills. Different states have restrictions regarding who can inherit property, and the tax laws also differ.

When dealing with wills with a foreign element attached, it is usually wise to seek a probate lawyer who has handled these cases before.

Take charge of your probate process today – with proven tailor-made solutions from top probate NYC lawyers.

What we Bring to the Table

The sudden death of a loved one can overwhelm you. You may experience some kind of shock that may take a while to recover. Without the necessary support, you may need to take a break from your family and official duties to attend to matters relating to the deceased’s estate.

As top probate lawyers in NYC, we offer you the best assistance during this time of distress. We understand how tedious probate can be and are always ready to give you our help. You may be required to make several trips to the probate court while your documents are being reviewed. This should not be the case when you have other responsibilities to handle.

We have experienced and dedicated probate lawyers that are ready to hold your hand throughout the process. Hiring us means that you do not need to make those unnecessary trips to the court. We are capable of handling every step of the probate process on your behalf.

You might be wondering why you should consider our practice over any other. Here are some of the reasons.

We Provide All the Necessary Assistance

As the administrator or executor of your loved one’s estate, you have a huge responsibility for fulfilling the desires of the deceased. If you decide to get an unqualified person to administer the estate, you may incur a lot of liabilities.

We have a team of qualified probate lawyers who can help you execute your loved one’s will. We do not take chances when it comes to doing things right. We plan your responsibilities in a way that ensures you are not overwhelmed with the entire process.

We have a track record of successfully carrying out numerous responsibilities on behalf of our clients. We have been successful in locating decedent assets, processing appraisals for estates on behalf of our clients and overseeing the payment of debts.

Our team is also well known for efficiently handling estate tax issues, among other activities.

We are Experts at Spotting and Eliminating Probate Mistakes

The probate process involves a lot of legal detail. In case you are not careful, you may end up making unintended mistakes. We are professionally trained to handle such errors, and our procedures ensure that they are resolved in good time.

We partner with the executor to carry out probate duties as required by the court. Hiring us means that such errors will be on our shoulders. We, therefore, do anything possible to make sure that they do not happen.

We Provide Enough Resources

We are extremely knowledgeable in it comes to probate matters. Our legal database contains all kinds of information that you need at each stage of probate.

Our vast experience in probate procedures allows us to assist you through the process. We professionally handle you since our team is equipped with the best people and communication skills.

We have handled several similar cases, some with more demands than others. We have a reputation for delivering positive outcomes for each of our cases. This is made possible due to our up-to-date strategies, documents and procedures.

We are Good at Paperwork

Depending on how soon into the process you engage us, we can speed up the probate by helping you file the right documents during the petition. We ensure every document we give you is valid and meets the standards of the probate court.

We understand the repercussion that wrong documents can have on the process. We also understand that at this trying moment, you may still be grieving, thus you may fail to critically check the validity of any other documents presented to you by other parties.

We do the checking on your behalf. With our years of experience in the legal field, we can easily distinguish original documents from fake ones. Hiring us ensures that you avoid the hassle of presenting such documents to court since this may attract a penalty.

We are known for Speed

We are confident in the work we do. We do not waste time trying out procedures that are likely to backfire. We use our experience to speed the entire process.

Besides meeting your set deadlines, we also follow up with the probate court to ensure it meets its deadlines too. We keep up with schedules and work hard not to let our clients down.

We do not skip any court proceedings unless requested by our clients. We love making progress in all our cases and saving time. We have the court procedures at our fingertips and understand the kind of permissions you need to obtain from the court before carrying out any activities on the estate.

We Offer Professional Advice

We specialize in probate. Our team of lawyers has solid experience in handling probate cases. Our advice is based on legal knowledge as well as previous experience in handling similar cases.

We walk you through the process to ensure that you do not make any omissions that can slow the case. We give you an outline of the possible outcomes of the process to prepare you for what is to come.

We are good at Handling Probate Difficulties

Probate is always more straightforward in some estates more than others. If you clearly understand the instructions of the court, you will provide the requirements on time, and this can expedite the process.

We are used to handling even the most complicated estates. We have experience handling tax disputes, disputes between family members, financial disputes, and complications arising from estates associated with huge debts.

We handle the stress associated with such difficulties on your behalf. We only get you involved as required. We constantly update you on the progress of such disputes to ensure you do not worry about the progress.

Where two or three types of disputes have come up, we prioritize them accordingly based on our knowledge and the legal requirements. We have a history of handling all disputes successfully. Our probate lawyers are well equipped to handle all complexities of any probate process.

Estate planning lawyer

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are sure that the deceased did not leave a will behind, you can swear in the presence of an attorney. You should only do this if you are completely sure that no will exists.

If you are the executor of the decedent’s estate, you will be held responsible if a will is found later in the probate process. Even if the estate has already been distributed to potential heirs at the time of finding the will, you will be required to redistribute it according to the decedent’s requirements.

In case you believe that the decedent had a will, but you are unable to find it, you will need to prove to the court that you have exhausted all your search options. If the will is not found at all, the court will assume that is was destroyed and distribute the decedent’s assets according to intestacy laws.

Even if you are closely related to the deceased, you are not allowed to replace the executor named in the will.

An executor can only be changed by the testator when they are still alive. If the testator is dead, the executor can only be removed if he or she is no longer interested in the position or by the court’s intervention.

An executor who is not interested in undertaking the responsibility as requested may also decide to appoint a lawyer to act on their behalf.

An estate is deemed insolvent if its value is less than the liabilities of the decedent. This simply means that the decedent’s amount of debt is higher than the value of their estate.

Inheriting an insolvent estate may be of no use since the court will always instruct the executor to settle the decedent’s debts before distributing the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries. Executors who fail to follow this order may be instructed to clear the pending debts themselves.

There is no specific cost when it comes to probate. The amount used depends on the size and complexity of the estate and what needs to be accomplished before distributing it.

For instance, an estate containing property that needs to be disposed of may cost more than one whose inheritance process is straightforward. If there are creditor claims and other disputes associated with your estate, more time will be needed to administer it, and this automatically translates to more costs.

Attorney fees also vary from court to court, based on the complexity of your case. Filing and other court costs may also vary. These factors and many others make it difficult to determine the exact cost of probate.

Anyone who contests a will must have valid grounds for doing so. Some of the reasons include:

  • The contestant depended on the deceased, and the will did not make any provisions for their future.
  • The testator was not in the right frame of mind when drafting the will.
  • The will was forged or written under duress

If a claimant contests the will successfully, it will be considered invalid, and the court will distribute the estate according to intestacy rules.

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