In New York, probate must be carried out when a person dies leaving a will. Probate is a court-supervised procedure by which the will is validated before the instructions are carried out. If there is no will, probate will still be carried out when the decedent owned assets in his name alone. If the deed of your house, car, business, jewelry, bank account, or any other asset contains your name alone, then that asset must go through the court before it can pass on to a beneficiary.
Cases when probate will not be necessary
- Assets are held in a trust, and there is no will
- Assets are jointly owned with spouse or by joint tenancy
- Assets contain beneficiary designation e.g insurance proceeds, IRAs, POD accounts
- The estate worth less than $30,000. In this case, a small estate administration will be done instead. The small estate administration is quicker and less expensive than the normal probate.
In the absence of a will
When there is no will and assets are owned in the name of the decedent alone, probate must still be done. In this case, the court will appoint a personal representative known as an estate administrator. This person has the same fiduciary responsibilities as the executor of a will. In the absence of a will, a person can come forward to be named by the court as the personal representative of the deceased. If this is you, then you would need the legal assistance of the NYC probate attorney. He will help you in filing the necessary documents and appealing to the court to act as the fiduciary.
How does probate begin?
Probate commences when the executor submits the will and the probate petition to the Surrogate’s Court. He can do this with assistance from the probate attorney. Once the validity of the will has been verified and all issues have been duly addressed, then the court will then issue out Letters Testamentary to the executor to continue with his duties in administering the estate.
What do I do as the executor or estate administrator?
Your roles as the executor or estate administrator are to administer the estate and distribute it to beneficiaries according to the will or laws of intestacy. Before you disburse the estate, you must first collect and valuate the total assets owned by the decedent. Then estate debts, bills and taxes are required to be paid. Note that state estate tax is imposed on all estates in New York valuing over $5.85 million (individually owned estates). After all these have been paid, you have to present a clear record of your expenses. When this has been accepted by the court and family members, you then proceed to disbursement according to the will or intestacy laws (in the absence of a valid last will).
If there is no will, someone has to file a petition to the probate court to act as the personal representative of the deceased for probate to commence. In this case, the person will be called an estate administrator and not an executor, but the responsibilities remain the same. In the absence of a will, only the spouse and children of the deceased will inherit under NY Intestate Succession Law.
Should I handle probate alone or do I need an attorney?
If you are an executor or estate administrator, you have to understand that there are a lot of legalities surrounding probating an estate in New York. If the estate is simple and the family is cordial, then you probably can handle probate yourself. But for complex estates and those in which the surviving family members are at each other’s throats, you definitely would need the assistance of a probate attorney because there is a high possibility of estate litigation cases and suits being filed. Such issues complicate probate all the more, and only an experienced probate attorney can help mitigate such issues.
The probate attorney 10030 is here to help you through it all
Have you been named as an executor and you feel the duties above sound very tasking and scary? You need not worry because you really do not have to go at it alone. All you need do is contact the probate attorney New York, 10030. He has made probate so simple and smooth for a plethora of personal representatives in NYC, and is ready to do the same for you. Put a call through today.