After a person passes away, a probate filing is essential in the Surrogate’s Court in Brooklyn. The court will find out if there is any dispute in the assets of the decedent, and the assets are in his/her sole name at the time of death. To make the probate process smooth and fast and to provide you a clear understanding of how to proceed, employing a Brooklyn probate attorney is highly important, no matter how simple or complex the particular probate is.
Not every asset owned by the deceased comes under probate coverage. Assets that are transferred to a trust, real estate, stocks, bank accounts, businesses, and other accounts held in joint names or with beneficiaries are excluded from probate. Retirement benefits and life insurance policies generally come with the name of the beneficiaries. Hence this does not come under probate coverage.
How Long Does It Take To Complete A Probate Usually?
This is the million-dollar question right from the beginning of the process. The family members and beneficiaries become inquisitive to know how long it will take to complete the formal probate, and finally, their authority will be established on the inheritance. For simple probate without any contest, it takes 7 to 9 months on an average to administer.
You might be willing to know how probate works and what are the different steps. A Brooklyn probate attorney is the best person to elaborate on the entire process and aspects of different actions taken during the time span.
General Timeline Probate Timeline Explained By A Brooklyn Probate Attorney
This time-based approach will give you an overall idea of how probate should be ideally. Although in most of the cases, the situations are not so simple. Still, this is a sample that everyone will understand how to go through.
Month 1: To Locate and Identify the Assets of the Decedent
The assets of the individual are first located and informed to his/her heirs. If the executor or personal representative is selected by the decedent in his/her Will, the court will honor his/her decision. Otherwise, the court will choose one. Generally, the court chooses the surviving spouse of the deceased to accomplish all the duties until the assets are distributed among the heirs.
The executor hires a probate lawyer to guide him/her in estate administration, paying debts and taxes and about legal matters. The administrator should obtain a certified copy of the death certificate to establish his/her credibility while accomplishing the tasks on the owner’s behalf.
Month 2: The Court Will Issue Formal Letter Handing over the Estate’s Charge to the Executor
After getting the court order, the executor should make a list of all his/her assets and a separate one for all the dues till the date of death of the decedent. He/she needs a personal lawyer’s advice to do the accounting. If required, he/she has to hire an accountant.
Month 3 And 4: Payment of Debts and Taxes As Instructed By The Brooklyn Probate Attorney
The personal representative has to pay the creditors from the estate fund. If the amount is too large, it may require selling out a part of the estate before the distribution takes place. He/she also has to pay all the taxes and file a tax return. Determine the value of the estate and clear the estate tax before distribution.
Month 5: Probate Attorney Will Help in Resolving the Disputes
After paying the creditors and outstanding taxes, you should resolve all the disputes with other interested parties.
Month 6: The Accounting of the Expenses to Be Submitted
The executor should produce the accounting of all the expenses made from the estate fund during probate to the Surrogate’s Court. This is the initial step of wrapping up probate.
Month 7, 8 And 9: The Court Will Check All the Documents In Order To Transfer the Assets
If nobody approaches to challenge the Will and the ongoing litigations regarding selling property or assets get a solution, then this is the final phase of probate. The distribution of the estate will take place among the decedent’s beneficiaries. File a petition to discharge the personal representative. The court will accept the petition to wind up the process and close the estate. The probate gets over.
Remember, this is the example of ideal probate. But in reality, several contests and probate litigation may delay the process. The time cannot be estimated for complicated litigations. It may even take several years. Family relations also get disrupted. During probate, there can be surprises, unexpected occurrences.