Probate FAQ

Estate issues can be complex, especially probate. If you’ve never been an executor or even inherited before, you probably have a lot of questions, which is why we dedicated this blog to frequently-asked questions about probate in New York.

  1. Do All Wills Need to be Probated?
  2. In New York, wills are required to be probated only when the decedent left an estate worth $50,000 or more. Only property that was solely in their name counts towards this threshold: if they owned a home or business with their spouse, the value of that property is not included. Certain assets with a named beneficiary, such as proceeds from a life insurance policy or IRAs, also don’t count because they pass directly to the beneficiary when the policyholder dies.
  3. What Happens During Probate?
  4. The probate process begins by filing the original Will and a probate petition with the court, which will issue a decree granting probate and issue Letters Testamentary to the executor named in the will. This party has several responsibilities that include:
  • Collecting information about the decedent’s property, assets, and liabilities
  • Having property appraised when necessary
  • Paying the estate’s debts and expenses
  • Filing tax returns
  • Distributing property to the beneficiaries in the will

Anyone appointed to be an executor is required to carry out their duties with honesty and diligence. Once everything has been completed, the estate is closed.

  1. How Long Does Probate Take?
  2. It depends. A simple probate case can be over in a few months if the court schedule allows it. If someone contests the will, an asset can’t be located, or another problem arises, it can take a lot longer. Working with a probate attorney will ensure that the process is completed as efficiently as possible under the circumstances.
  3. What if a Person Dies Without a Will in New York?

Many New Yorkers don’t have a will. If they die before they have the chance to create one, their estate is subject to the laws of intestate succession. 

The process, which is referred to as an administration proceeding, directs that the decedent’s spouse inherit the entire probate estate unless there are children or other descendents. In that case, the spouse receives the first $50,000 and the remainder of the estate is divided 50-50 between the spouse and the children or other descendants. If their spouse predeceased them but they had children or grandchildren, the estate will be divided among these descendents.

  1. Do I Need To Hire an Attorney to Handle a Probate Matter?
  2. While there is no legal requirement that you engage an attorney to handle a probate proceeding for you, there are reasons why it makes sense to do so. Even estates that seem relatively simple on the surface can yield complications. What do you do if all interested parties can’t be located? What if someone contests the will? These are situations that are best addressed by a New York probate attorney.

Need Help With a Probate Issue? Contact Drucker & Mattia

Dealing with probate can be intimidating, but an experienced New York probate attorney can help you deal with the formalities and challenges. You will minimize the necessary time and cost and feel confident that the proceedings were fully compliant with current laws. For assistance with probating the estate of a loved one, please call Drucker & Mattia at 718-458-2312.

The following two tabs change content below.

Drucker & Mattia PLLC

When you’re facing legal issues or pursuing a lawsuit, skilled legal counsel makes a big difference. At Drucker & Mattia, PLLC, we specialize in a wide range of legal areas to meet the needs of a diverse client base.

Latest posts by Drucker & Mattia PLLC (see all)