Probate is a legal process carried out after an individual passes away leaving estate. If they left a Last Will, the Will may then be admitted into the probate court and verified if indeed it is in compliance with state laws. If it is, then the estate is disbursed accordingly. Otherwise, the intestacy laws determine the default heirs.
However, the distribution aspect is only the last phase of the probate process. The executor or estate administrator appointed by the court in the absence of a valid Will has a lot of responsibilities during probate. As the roles are critical, care must be given to avoid costly mistakes. In that note, Will executors and estate administrators — collectively called the personal representative of the deceased — are advised to seek legal and professional guidance from a skilled probate attorney in their county.
For probate in Jamaica, NY 10065, contact a probate attorney 10065.
Important things to know about NY probate
When is probate necessary in New York 10065?
Probate is necessary when the decedent died leaving assets held in their name only. Such assets must then be lawfully passed into the ownership of someone else i.e. a beneficiary or heir, and this is what necessitates probate. Howbeit, the total value of the assets must exceed $30,000 for it to be probable. Below this value, the estate will undergo a process known as Small Estate Administration.
What is Small Estate Administration?
Small estate administration is more or less a simplified approach to settling an estate worth less than $30,000 in New York. Here, the petition filed will not be for probate but for a small estate. This goes simply and smoothly and hardly ever requires an attorney’s professional involvement.
Do all assets go through probate?
Only assets held in the name of the decedent only may be probated. These may include houses, bank accounts, vehicles, business, other personal items, etc.
There are specific assets which never goes through the probate process:
- Assets held in a trust
- Jointly held assets with rights of survivorship
- Retirement accounts
- Accounts with payable-on-death clauses
- Insurance proceeds and other accounts with designated beneficiaries.
What are the duties of the personal representative?
The personal representative is responsible for the following:
- Initiating probate by filing a petition to the Surrogate’s Court
- Notifying the public (most importantly the relatives and creditors of the deceased) that probate has commenced
- Collecting all assets and evaluating the estate
- Filing tax return forms, paying estate tax, debt, funeral expenses, and other financial obligations of the estate left by the deceased. All payments, including attorney fees, court charges and probate expenses are paid out of the estate funds.
- Disbursing what’s left of the estate to the beneficiaries/heirs.
What happens when there is no will?
In the absence of a valid Will, the court appoints an estate administrator in place of an executor. This person carries out all the functions of the executor. However, the New York intestate succession law will be used to distribute the estate. Here, the surviving spouse is entitled to the first $50,000 of the estate plus half the remainder, while the children inherit the rest. If there is no spouse, the children receive everything. If there is no child, the spouse receives everything. In the absence of either, the estate goes to the closest living heir-at-law.
New York Priority of Claims
The New York priority of claims gives priority to creditors, estate taxes and other financial obligations over the beneficiaries. If there are insufficient funds, the beneficiaries may end up receiving nothing. Also, some debts would have to be sidelined. It is left for the executor and probate attorney to work in accordance with the priority and conclude on who to pay and who not to pay. The importance of estate valuation before disbursement is seen here.
After the Will gains admission into court, the court calls for a court hearing where all interested parties will be present. Any disgruntled party may lawfully “contest” the will, that is, counter its credibility. It may lead to a court case. Family members may also litigate. Such persons filing lawsuits regarding a will or assets during probate would require the services of a skilled probate attorney.
We are here to help
As have been seen, there are areas where assistance from a legal professional is required. Our probate attorneys at our NY-based law firm help ensure that probate concludes as quick as possible and with minimal hiccups. We assist executors in the execution of their roles to avoid costly mistakes while speeding up the process. Let us take the burden off you. Call our Law Office to speak with a probate attorney 10065.