Long Island and New York City Probate Lawyers
The probating of a will is the start of a process involving a variety of steps in the Surrogate’s Court in the State of New York. There are a variety of issues and potential problems that can arise during the administration of an estate. At the Law Offices of Elliot S. Schlissel our dedicated and experienced attorneys and paralegals provide our clients with exceptional representation during the legal processes of estate related matters. Our attorneys are available to meet our clients’ needs and we take pride in our reputation for fighting for our clients rights.
Over 100 Years Combined Legal Experience
The probate and estate administration lawyers at the Law Office of Elliot S. Schlissel have more than 100 years of combined legal experience representing clients in the Surrogate’s Courts in the State of New York. This wealth of legal experience in probating wills and handling the administration of intestate estates sets our law firm apart from many other firms who practice in this area of law.
Steps in the Probate and Administration of Estates Process
The probate and estate administration process has numerous steps and potential challenges. The following is a list of typical procedures and court requirements related to the probating of wills and the administration of estates.
- A probate petition is prepared when probating a will or a petition for the administration of an intestate estate (intestate means dying without a will) is prepared. An original funeral bill and original death certificate must accompany the petition. If a person dies intestate, a family tree must be made part of the petition.
- Wills contain a clause naming an individual as executor. The executor’s responsibility is to carry out the terms of the will. As part of the probate process, the petition asks the Court to appoint the named person in the will as executor. In intestate situations, an application is made to the Court to appoint an individual as administrator. Sometimes more than one friend or family member seeks to be appointed the administrator and this can cause litigation.
- In the probate process a notice of appearance indicating the law firm is acting as a legal representative of the administrator also must be filed with the Court.
- Copies of the probate petition or petitions to act as administrator of the estate must be served on all interested parties. There is a statute in the New York Estates Powers and Trusts law that determines the class of individuals who must receive notice of these petitions. Sometimes waivers that are to be executed by interested parties are to be attached to the petitions for administration and/or probate. The purpose of the waivers is to indicate the individual is not challenging the appointment of the executor or administrator of the estate.
- On the return date of the petition for probate or petition of administration, the attorney representing the estate must appear in Court. On the appearance date any individuals who received notice and seek to challenge the will, investigate the circumstances involving the execution of the will or challenge the administration of the estate can appear and be heard by the Court.
- If there is no challenge to the probate or administration petition, letters testamentary or letters of administration are prepared by the attorney, submitted to the Court for signature and thereafter signed by the Court. This causes the appointment of the executor or the administrator of the estate. At that point in time the executor or administrator of the estate, also referred to as the Fiduciary, can take action to liquidate the assets of the estate.
- As part of the executor’s or administrator’s responsibility, he or she must prepare and inventory of all the assets of every type and nature of the estate as well as any debts owed by the estate. In some situations the assets cannot be liquidated and appraisals of these assets must be obtained.
- The executor or administrator must obtain a tax id number for the estate and thereafter open an account at a financial institution to maintain the estate assets. The bank account must be maintained in a manner where there is double entry book keeping. They are to see to it that the estate assets are properly maintained.
- Once assets are liquidated and the estate bank account is opened the executor or administrator must pay the bills of the estate and any claims made against the estate. Claims by creditors or third parties of the estate are either paid or rejected. If a claim is rejected, there is a process to deal with the rejected claim through the Courts.
- In some estates, New York State and Federal Estate Tax returns must be filed.
- In the event there are houses or other parcels of real estate owned by the decedent, appraisals must be obtained, the real estate must be listed for sale or it must be distributed in kind to the appropriate beneficiaries.
- After all the estate assets are liquidated, the debts are paid, all claims are dealt with and all taxes are paid, the executor must wait a period of seven months after the letters of administration and letters of testamentary. At this time, he or she must prepare a statement of final accounting on the estate that shows all financial transactions of every type and every nature made by the administrator or executor and then make distribution of the balance of the funds of the estates accounts to the respective beneficiaries.
Hiring an Estate Administration Lawyer
It is important that when looking for lawyers to handle the probate or administration process that you do not just hire any lawyer. You need to hire lawyers who have significant experience to handle the myriad of problems and potential complexities involved in the administration of the estate or probate of the will.
The lawyers at the Law Offices of Elliot S. Schlissel are familiar with both New York State Estates Powers and Trusts Law and Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act and court rules affecting estates. We educate our clients as to the process involved, keep them informed as to what we are doing and see to it that things are done ethically, appropriately and expeditiously.
Our dedicated staff of lawyers and paralegals, at your initial consultation, will discuss the procedures we will take to handle the estate and see to it that the probate administration process works fluidly. Whether the situation involves complex estates or simply routine probate or administrations, it is in your best interest to have an experienced and dedicated team of lawyers representing you. Feel free to call us at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802, 1-800-344-6431 to schedule a free consultation.