At our New York based probate law firm, our probate attorneys understand the trauma often suffered by grieving families who are suddenly forced into the legal world of probate. New York probate is never an easy period, but it is our target to make it as quick and seamless as possible for our clients. Our attorneys are well-versed in the estate laws effective in NYC, NY 10018, and will put all experience and knowledge garnered over the years to assist you as an executor carry out your probate roles efficiently, thus granting relief to the family. We offer consultancy services as well as legal representation.
Areas where a probate attorney will offer assistance
Filing the petition
Probate is initiated by the will executor by filing a petition to the Surrogate’s Court in the county where the deceased lived. The death certificate and original will are included in the petition. It is important that this is accurately filed with proper information as any missing piece can lead to rejection by the court. Here, the legal assistance of a probate attorney is of immense value.
If there is no will, your attorney can help file a petition to the court to appoint you as the estate administrator.
Sending notice to the family and creditors of the deceased
After admitting the will into court, The next step is to notify the family members and creditors of the deceased. It is not always easy locating and identifying the legitimate ones, but assistance from the probate attorney will make things go much easier.
Assessing the estate
All assets owned in the name of the deceased must be collected, valuated and kept account of by the executor. Appraisal by an accounting professional may be required although probate attorneys in New York are also proficient in this area. Some assets may need to be liquidated in order to have liquid funds to distribute to beneficiaries. Some assets may be sold, some invested according to the discretion of the personal representative with counsel from the attorney and permission from the family members.
Proper record must be kept of every financial transactions, insurance proceeds, and income coming into the estate.
Dealing with estate debts and tax
Creditors are lawfully allowed to file their claims to the estate, and the executor must respond and pay the valid claims. This process often puts the executor into a tricky situation. They would be held liable if they pay illegitimate debts or excess. The importance of having a probate attorney also comes into play here. The probate attorney 10018 is experienced in dealing with creditors and estate tax, and will represent the executor.
Disbursing and closing the estate
After debts, tax, probate expenses, court and attorney fees have been settled, the leftover of the estate will then be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the will or intestate succession law in the absence of a valid will. As there are several forms required to be filled, the probate attorney will oversee this process to ensure everything is done right. Once this has been completed, the estate is closed.
New York law of priority of claims
The New York law of priority of claims is used when the estate funds does not suffice to settle the beneficiaries, creditors, tax, expenses, etc. When this happens, creditors and other expenses are given priority over beneficiaries, that is, they are settled first before considering the beneficiaries.
The priority of claims is as follows:
Funeral and burial expenses
Probate expenses, court and attorney charges
Estate and personal taxes owed by the deceased
Medical bills relating to the decedent’s death or any illnesses that was the cause of death
Secured debts such as mortgages or car loans
If the funds are so minimal, creditors may have to settle with whatever they receive, and beneficiaries would not get anything at all. The executor would also have to choose what creditor to pay, and whoever does not receive their claim may have to forget about it.
Such a situation requires professional and experienced hands, and the executor should not attempt handling it all by himself. Such an estate would definitely need to hire an attorney.
Probate is legal. Hiring a legal professional in the person of the probate attorney ensures that costly mistakes and disputes are avoided and the right action is taken at the right time, thus actualizing a seamless and shorter probate. Contact our law offices to speak with a probate attorney 10018.