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Probate NYC Lawyer
At our law firm, we are dedicated to providing the best legal advice and counselling to clients throughout NYC. We offer extensive knowledge and experience in probate administration for both local and out-of-state clients.
When faced with probation, you must choose the best probate NYC lawyer to help resolve the issue.
By choosing us, you are picking a firm that:
- Gives you individualized service to make sure you have full confidence and peace of mind.
- Possesses vast experience and the necessary resources that enable us to handle all your legal needs professionally efficiently and with resolve.
- Charges a reasonable price for the probate services that we render.
Before we go into our role in the probate process, we first have to understand what it is and what it can do for you.
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What is NYC Probate?
Many people aren’t so sure what this term means. Many think of it as a long, drawn-out process that is costly that surrounds every decedent’s affairs. Technically, the term “probate” means the process of “proving a will” using a court process.
A decade ago, nearly every estate had to go through the court before it could pass to the beneficiaries. Currently, there are several ways that you can bypass the probate process successfully, avoiding the court process altogether.
There is one thing you need to know – the person tasked with the responsibility of settling the estate has very few options for which property transfer method to use. The preparation of the decedent determines all options before they passed away.
The probate process involves filing papers at the court clerk’s office, usually in the county where the decedent had a residence at the time of passing away. Going to government offices and other agencies in person can be a huge ordeal when you have lost a loved one, the reason why you need to work with a probate lawyer in NYC to do this for you.
The good thing is that most probate matters don’t require you to appear in court personally. Settling a probate matter is easier now that we have electronic communication. With this in mind, you can easily handle your cases, even when you aren’t within the county. All you need is a good probate lawyer to help run the show.
Small Estate: How to File It in NYC Probate
In NYC, the small estate provision is usually called informal probate. Small estates don’t need the qualification of a personal representative, and at times they don’t involve any filings in court. This means that those with debts with the decedent can deal directly with the beneficiaries, even with formal probate.
The greatest advantage of informal probate is that there is no need for reporting, which results in lower costs.
Our job is to determine whether the probate process is ideal for the estate, and if necessary, then which type of probate. We also determine whether the personal representative is necessary for the estate to be handled.
The Advantages of Formal Probate
While it has various disadvantages, formal probate also has a series of advantages. These advantages are typically gained from an executor’s appointment to the estate and formal administration, even when it isn’t specifically required to transfer the estate.
It Is a Good Practice
Concealing the will or destroying it knowingly is concerned to be a felony. You need to put a will on record with the probate court, even when the personal representative’s qualification isn’t necessary, which avoids the allegation that the person who has the will intended to conceal it.
Claims Get to Be Paid
The validity of the claims can be considered, and either they can be paid, contested or disposed of as appropriate. This is especially important when the estate is insolvent, and it cannot pay its debts in full. Formal probate procedures also limit the time when the claims can be handled. Formal probate also protects the fiduciary against the claims that he acted improperly.
It Protects the Beneficiaries
When assets remain after payment of the claims and expenses and taxes, they are distributed according to the existing will or the intestacy rule in NYC. The fiduciary duty bounds the executor, and he must treat all the beneficiaries impartially and fairly, therefore protecting the beneficiaries.
However, you need to make sure that the formal probate process runs the right way, and you can do this when you work with a qualified probate NYC lawyer.
The Process of Settling an Estate in NYC
Typically, the process of settling an estate is a continuous process that involves:
- Determining which assets are owned by the decedent.
- Using the estate funds to pay off any debts owed to creditors, and taxes, if any.
- Distributing the property that remains to appropriate beneficiaries.
How Long Does it Take to Settle the Estate?
If there is a need for a formal probate process, you will be looking at anywhere between seven to nine months to complete the required steps. If you are dealing with a complicated estate, it might take several years to complete it.
Do You Need Probate NYC lawyer Services?
The law doesn’t mandate you to hire an attorney to settle the estate. A simple estate can be settled with guidelines that you can follow. However, some complications that require specialized probate knowledge can crop up even in an otherwise simple estate.
Some of the complications include:
- Issues with the will. One of the most common issues us the ambiguous language in the will. If the executor is unable to interpret what the will means, then a probate lawyer is necessary. Ambiguities in the will are the major cause of contests in the will, which can lead to disputes.
- Contested claims against the estate. Even when there is a valid will, some beneficiaries can come in to contest the clauses in the will. For example, a spouse might contest the awarding of a property to a relative.
- Unfinished contracts. If the decedent had unfinished contracts, for instance, the sale of a property that began but hasn’t been completed before their death, you need proper legal assistance.
- An insolvent estate. This is where the debts are way more than the assets that are present. In such a case, the estate has to go through probate for the judge to decide who gets what.
- Claims against the estate by the people who feel they were left out or those who feel they have been given too little.
- A lot of property that has been given to the minor, unless there are legal provisions to the same in the will.
In all these situations, you will find that there is more to the underlying issue than meets the eye. This is where you need a NYC probate lawyer’s legal services to understand what you need to do in each situation.
What Happens when the Will is Ineffective?
There are instances when the will doesn’t work as you had planned. This usually occurs in three situations:
- When the spouse or a partner is entitled to inherit property but has been left out of the will.
- Children that are entitled to inherit property have been left out of the will.
- The will hasn’t been updated after a major occurrence, for instance, after divorce or termination of a partnership.
Here, the probate court can listen to the dispute and rule according to the probate code of NYC. To represent your interests, we can find out what happened and be your lawyers during these proceedings.
The first question you need to ask yourself is, “do you need probate court proceeding?” We can help you answer these questions satisfactorily. We shall study the assets to see if any of them fall under the categories that don’t require probate, then leave the list of the assets that need probate.
What Court Do You Use?
As you know too well, different courts in the legal system handle different matters in New York. All the probate cases are handled by the surrogate court of the county where the decedent lived permanently before they passed on, no matter where the property is located.
Some counties have branches of the main probate court, and you can determine the nearest branch by calling the main courthouse.
If the decedent left the property in the state in which he isn’t a resident, then the property will be governed by the laws in that state, and the proceedings for settling the estate must be commenced in the state where the property is located.
Although all the probate courts follow the procedures outlined in the NYC probate code, each court has its own set of rules that they follow. Reading and deciphering the local rules can be hard when you don’t have the time to do so. This is why we are here – to help you make sense of the local rules that have been set and help make the probate process easier for you.
Who Represents the Estate?
The estate needs to be represented during the probate proceedings. The person that handles this task is an executor or a personal representative.
- If there is a valid will that names an executor, then he will take up this role.
- If the decedent died intestate, then the court takes up the role of choosing an estate representative that is called the “administrator.”
- If there is a will without an executor named, or if the person that is named in the will is not able to serve, the court chooses a personal representative to handle the task.
The good thing is that the estate can have more than one person to play this role. If one of the executors fails at the role or rejects the appointment, the other can take up the role.
Obtaining Court Forms
Typically all the documents used in a probate proceeding are officially printed. You need to acquire all of them and then fill them out a required. We can do this for you if you are far away, or we can guide you when you are stuck.
Petitions and Orders
A petition is that document that asks the court to perform an act. When faced with a simple probate proceeding, you are supposed to file two petitions – the first one is to admit the will to probate, that is, if there is one. The second one is to petition the court to appoint an executor for the estate. You also need to petition the court to close the estate and distribute the asset to the beneficiaries.
Using a Probate NYC lawyer During the Process
Probate lawyers are specialized in handling probate issues, right from handling wills to helping you file petitions. We shall do all you need us to so fast and professionally. However, there are a few rules that will dictate the way we work with you. Let us check them out.
Always Plan Ahead
When you give your lawyer an idea of what you want ahead of time, you can reduce the cost of the process while maintaining the quality. When you give us enough time to handle a process or file a petition, we shall have the time to do it perfectly.
Let us know if there is something that is developing early enough to plan for it. Remember that we also have other clients that also demand our time, so it would not be right for you to throw a task at us and then expect us to do our best in the shortest period.
Keep Us Informed of New Developments
We cannot give you legal advice in a vacuum. We need to know what is happening behind the scenes. Probate is like any other case – the more information we have about the issue at hand, the better we hall handle it. Educate us on the case effectively, and we shall deliver more than what you expect.
Come for a Meeting Once in a While
Meet with us regularly or after every new development to evaluate what has happened since the last meeting and tell us what you are planning. When you come in this way, you give us a chance to identify what you have done that might need fixing before they grow into larger problems that might take longer to solve.
We shall give you our views on whether you are on the right track and if you need to change some things.
Use Our Contacts and Knowledge
In our daily tasks, we come across many people that you won’t meet in your business line. These include financial experts, accountant, and other experts. You can make use of these contacts to see to it that you achieve your goals. For instance, if you are dealing with ancillary probate, then we can connect you to the right NYC probate lawyer in the other state.
You will get all your results and goals achieved if you focus all your efforts and follow through on all that you do with us. Make sure you get back to us on tasks that are vital to the probate process.
Why Work With Us?
Most people believe that they can settle the estate of their loved one without an attorney’s assistance. Some do not understand the role we play in the probate process and end up making a lot of mistakes that lead to unnecessary legal problems.
Working closely with us after the death of a loved one helps expedite the entire probate process. During your initial consultations with us, we make you understand the many benefits you will receive from hiring us. Here are a few of them:
We are Very Accommodative
The loss of a loved one poses extremely difficult times for everyone. We understand that it is not easy to deal with the grief and other emotional challenges that arise from the loss. It becomes more difficult to plan for their death and settle their estate at the same time.
Our team is made up of caring professionals who understand the heartache associated with loss. We do our best to accommodate your emotions as you transition from the grieving process.
We Understand Everything NYC Probate
Handling the probate process on your own can be quite overwhelming; we understand how complicated the process can become that is why we are always on standby to offer you the help you need.
As experts in the probate processes, we understand all the potential challenges that may arise during probate. We are always ready to handle these challenges. Although you may have what it takes to handle your loved one’s estate matters, you need to understand that any error you make can lead to significant legal implications.
We assist you in navigating through this complex process by guiding you through each step of the way.
We Play by the Rules
We carry out our assignments with you in mind. We do not engage in any activities that may jeopardize your integrity during the probate process. We understand the need to keep all the paperwork associated with your case confidential.
We follow the guidelines of the probate court keenly and advise you on the right way to complete each step of the proceedings. Over the years, we have maintained a good reputation for being mindful of our actions when handling a client’s case.
We have sufficient training and experience in handling probate laws and ensuring that the right procedures are followed. We often pay attention to those small details that other attorneys are likely to miss.
We Make things Easy for You
A complaint we have heard from most individuals whose estate has gone through probate is that it takes too long. However, if you work with our lawyers, you can be sure that the process will only take a few months.
We help you complete the court requirements in time so that you do not experience any delays. We understand that during this time, you are still adjusting to several unexpected changes. We do our best to ensure that you do not need to worry about probate on top of these changes.
We oversee all the legal work on your behalf as you concentrate on taking care of your other family needs.
We Are Experts at Resolving Conflicts
Once your loved one dies, the court may take some time before verifying the validity of their will. When your family members have to wait for a long time to gain access to their share of the estate, they may become impatient. This can result in unnecessary arguments and misunderstandings.
Through us, you can speed up the process and help minimize these conflicts. If any of these conflicts need to be resolved in court, we offer you the right guidance on what needs to be done.
Our professional attorneys also guide you through any litigation that may arise. They use a firm yet straightforward approach to conclude any disputes as fast as possible before the situation becomes more difficult.
We save Costs
The affordable cost is another advantage of hiring our practice. We normally charge reasonable costs that you can easily offset either through your savings, from the proceeds of the estate, or through any other means you deem suitable.
One of our major focuses on minimizing estate taxes and other expenses that may arise as the case advances is when dealing with your case. By doing this, we ensure that you save a lot of money and that the estate value does not depreciate too much to leave you in debt.
We pride in administering your affairs and those of your loved one efficiently as we also handle any legal problems that arise. Our commitment is towards meeting all your needs.
We Act Promptly
Once you agree to work with us, we take the time to discuss your needs before coming up with a plan to meet these needs. Our response to your requests and communication is prompt, meaning that we do not contribute to the probate process’s delay, as is common with other firms.
Although we serve several clients simultaneously, we treat each client’s case as a priority. We have enough lawyers on board who do not hesitate to engage with any of our clients.
We understand that deadlines have to be met at all costs. We dedicate our time to provide the necessary paperwork and any other information needed for the probate proceedings within valid timeframes. Once we commit to your case, we make sure there is a team to oversee it to the end. We do not change our minds along the way, even if things get tough.
We Protect Your Interests
We handle your case intending to honour the wishes of your deceased loved one. If there is no will left behind by the decedent, we help you follow the right procedure of securing their estate before a creditor attempts to initiate settlement of the estate without involving the family.
We offer support to all cases, including those that have already been initiated at the probate court. Our team is experienced enough to take up a case despite the stage it is in.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Once your estate gets to probate, all the records about it become public. The probate court is always permitted to share information about your case with any interested parties.
Most courts also publish the information online, and anyone is free to download it. This information includes the name and number of your estate, names of the executor and attorney, and the scheduled hearings relating to your case.
If you do not wish your estate particulars to become public, you may need to make advance arrangements to ensure that your beneficiaries inherit your estate outside probate.
Soon after the death of a loved one, the first step will be to establish whether they had a will. If they did, you would need to file it at the probate court within the stipulated deadlines. The court may give you some forms, which you will need to fill and return accordingly.
In case there is no will, you will need to visit the probate court near you, or consult your attorney to establish the intestate succession laws that apply. The attorney will guide you on the right procedure to follow in this case.
You will need first to pay the filing fee with the courts and fill the necessary claim forms. You can obtain these forms from the probate court’s registrar, or can also download them online.
You must note that there is a deadline set by the probate court when filing claims. You need to check with the court to preview if the deadline for a particular estate has already elapsed.
Although it not compulsory to work with a law firm, you will need a lot of legal assistance when handling the complexities of probate. The entire process needs to be handled by a person that understands legal as well as tax requirements. Your executor may not be skilled enough to do this, and without the right guidance, they are bound to make mistakes.
Legal issues associated with your probate case can be settled faster with the help of an expert. You will always have peace of mind knowing that your case is in the right hands.
Determination of heirship refers to a probate process carried out to establish the rightful heirs of an estate whose owner died without a will. The process starts with a decedent’s loved one filling the relevant form and submitting it to the probate clerk. This form is known as the application to determine heirship.
The application consists of the names of potential heirs, and a list of the assets contained in the estate. The court then appoints an attorney to represent these heirs and establish their validity to inherit the estate.
Once the attorney files their report with the court, a hearing is set to present any witnesses before the court makes a ruling based on the findings at hand.