When a loved one passes, it is easy to become confused and overwhelmed about what the next steps are. Whether you are the nominated Executor, a child or spouse of the Decedent or otherwise involved, rest assured that our office will guide you through each step of process to ensure your rights are protected and the estate is properly managed.
WHAT IS PROBATE?
Simply speaking, Probate is the process of the Surrogate’s Court authenticating a Will and authorizing the nominated Executor in the Will to collect the assets and distribute them according to the terms of the Will.
Probate is ordinarily a simple straight forward process when there are no issues or concerns about the validity of the Will.
If you are concerned about whether the Will is valid, forged, or someone pressured him to sign it, see our Estate Litigation page or give us a call. For more information on Wills, see here.
insert link to link to estate planning, Last Will and Testament]
WHAT IS ADMINISTRATION?
Administration, on the other hand, is used when the person who passed away did not have a Will and we ask the Court to appoint you as Administrator of the estate to collect the assets and distribute them according to the laws of intestacy (discussed below). Both of these proceedings are filed in Surrogate’s Court of the County in which the person who passed away lived. Both Probate and Administration can be contested or uncontested.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
Where the proceeding is uncontested and everybody is getting along, the process involves collecting some documents and information from you, the client. Those documents include the original Will, a certified copy of the death certificate, a funeral bill, among others. We would then prepare various documents, some for your signature, some for other’s signatures (such as a spouse, or other children of the Decedent) and those documents would be filed in the Surrogate's Court in the county in which the Decedent lived.
Once the Court process is complete, the Court will have appointed a fiduciary, either an Executor (when there was a Will), or an Administrator (when there was no Will). The fiduciary will be charged with varies rights and legal responsibilities as fiduciary of the Decedent’s estate and is expected to ensure the proper administration of the estate. Some of the responsibilities included in administering an estate in are collecting (or marshaling) the Decedent’s assets, paying taxes, paying creditors, distributing the estate to the beneficiaries and filing accountings.
We know that the process can be overwhelming, especially during this difficult time, and that’s why our office is dedicated to providing a hands-on full-service approach to ensure the fiduciary and the family as much peace of mind as possible. If a loved one recently passed away and you are unsure where to turn or how to proceed, please feel free to call our office at 718-838-3334 for a free consultation and let us guide you through this difficult time.
Let us take on the stress of Estate Administration.
Contact us to see how we can help you through this tough time.