The Common Challenges Faced During the Probate Process

Common Challenges Faced During the Probate Process in New York City

Probate is a necessary legal process that follows a person’s death to settle their estate and distribute assets to heirs and beneficiaries. While probate serves a crucial role, it can also be a complex and challenging process, particularly in a city like New York. In this article, we’ll explore some of the common challenges faced during the probate process in New York City and how to navigate them.

1. Will Disputes and Contests

One of the most common challenges in probate is will disputes and contests. This can occur when beneficiaries or heirs question the validity of the will, claim that the deceased was coerced, lacked mental capacity, or that there is a more recent will. Resolving these disputes can prolong the probate process and lead to legal battles.

How to Navigate: To address will disputes, it’s essential to work with an experienced probate attorney who can provide legal guidance and representation. A skilled attorney can help gather evidence to support the validity of the will and resolve disputes through negotiation or litigation.

2. Creditor Claims

Another challenge is dealing with creditor claims against the estate. Creditors have a legal right to seek repayment of outstanding debts from the deceased person’s assets. This includes medical bills, loans, credit card debt, and other financial obligations.

How to Navigate: Executors or personal representatives must carefully review and validate creditor claims. Debts must be paid from the estate’s assets, and it’s crucial to prioritize claims according to New York’s laws. An experienced attorney can help ensure that creditor claims are handled correctly.

3. Estate Taxes

Estate taxes can be a significant challenge, especially for larger estates. New York has its own estate tax laws, and navigating these tax requirements can be complex. Failing to comply with tax obligations can lead to penalties and additional legal issues.

How to Navigate: Seek guidance from a tax professional or an estate planning attorney who is well-versed in New York’s estate tax laws. Proper tax planning can help minimize tax liabilities and ensure compliance with tax obligations.

4. Asset Valuation

Determining the value of estate assets accurately is crucial for a fair distribution. Real estate, investments, and personal property must be appraised correctly. Discrepancies in asset valuation can lead to disputes among beneficiaries.

How to Navigate: Hire experienced appraisers and professionals to assess the value of estate assets accurately. Document the valuation process meticulously to provide transparency to beneficiaries.

5. Complex Family Dynamics

Probate can exacerbate existing family conflicts and create new tensions among heirs and beneficiaries. Complex family dynamics can complicate decision-making and asset distribution.

How to Navigate: Open and clear communication is essential. Consider involving a mediator or counselor to help address family conflicts constructively. An attorney can also provide objective guidance and ensure that the probate process adheres to the law.

6. Lengthy Probate Timelines

The probate process can be time-consuming, and in a busy city like New York, it may take even longer. Delays can be frustrating for beneficiaries who are waiting for their inheritances.

How to Navigate: Work with an attorney who can help expedite the process where possible. Streamline paperwork and adhere to court deadlines to minimize unnecessary delays.


The probate process in New York City can present several challenges, including will disputes, creditor claims, estate taxes, asset valuation, complex family dynamics, and lengthy timelines. While these challenges are common, they can be effectively navigated with the assistance of experienced legal professionals.

If you’re facing probate challenges in New York City, Morgan Legal Group is here to provide expert legal guidance and support. Our team specializes in probate and estate administration, helping clients navigate the complexities of the process while protecting their interests and rights.

Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in overcoming the challenges of the probate process and ensuring a smooth and equitable distribution of assets.

Russel Morgan - Estate Planning Attorney

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important things you should know

Questions And Answers

The probate process is when a will of a deceased person is found to be valid. A will must be found valid for the assets and property therein to be distributed among the inheritors. The probate process is necessary when there is a will. Knowing about probate is important will help you to identify the common challenges faced during the probate process.

Yes, when you do not identify all the assets in an estate, issues can arise. This is a common challenge faced during the probate process. Oftentimes, the executor procrastinates identifying the assets of the estate. Not identifying all assets in an estate can delay the probate process considerably.

Yes, not evaluating all assets in an estate is a common challenge faced during the probate process. Evaluating the assets is a crucial part of the probate process. Sometimes you need an accountant or an attorney to help with this step.

The executor is an important role in the probate process. However, while most executors will accept their role, some may not. This is a common challenge you may face during the probate process. If the person you want to be executor does not accept then the court will appoint one as they see fit.

Yes, sometimes an executor will not fulfil their duties. This is a strong allegation, especially if they are stealing assets or misrepresenting the estate. If this occurs, then damages can be claimed.  

The executor is very important during the probate process. Essentially, the executor oversees the assets and property of the deceased. Moreover, it is their duty to carry out the wishes of the deceased in accordance with the will. Furthermore, during the probate process, the executor will oversee the finances of the estate.

Yes, an executor may improperly fulfill their duties, and this is a common challenge you may face during the probate process.

There are many laws surrounding probate, and an executor may not have extensive knowledge of these laws. Mistakes can happen. An executor should seek help when from a probate attorney who can help avoid any mistakes.

Yes, wills are frequently contested during probate proceedings. This is a common challenge you may face and will need to deal with as it happens. Probate seeks to discover the validity of the will, so contested wills are common.

A will is contested when an interested party of the will contests its validity. They will question the grounds upon which the will was created and signed.

Yes, this is a common challenge faced during the probate process. As with other elements of the probate process, there are myriad laws pertaining to probate. There are several grounds upon which a will can be contested, and it is recommended to know these grounds before beginning the probate process.

A common challenge faced during the probate process is when there are multiple wills produced during probate. This can lengthen the process because the court must discover which will is the most recent.

Yes, the length of the probate process poses a challenge. Many people think the probate process will be quick, but it is usually a long process. If you did not plan for the extra time, then you could face even more challenges down the line.

The probate process takes a long time for many reasons. Some of these reasons include contested wills, multiple assets, family disputes, poor planning, costs, and more.

Yes, the costs of the probate process can pose a challenge. It is common to not realize how costly the probate process can become.

During the probate process certain costs arise, such as lawyer fees, filing fees, and processing fees. Oftentimes, a percentage of the estate is used for the costs of probate.

Yes, one of the most common challenges faced during the probate process is not being prepared. Many people think it will be a quick, easy process because probate seems straightforward. However, when you are not prepared for every possibility, new challenges present themselves. You can be taken by surprise, which is never a good thing.

Yes, this can be a challenge. You want to make sure that you are getting a great probate lawyer. Otherwise, you are wasting valuable time and resources. You need to take the time to find the right probate lawyer to make the whole process go smoothly.

Yes, a probate lawyer can help with challenges faced during the probate process. Moreover, they can recognize the challenges ahead of time, which will save you time and resources. Furthermore, a good probate lawyer will have the wherewithal to sort any disputes and issues as they occur.