Probate and Estate Administration

After a person’s death, in order for their wishes and testamentary designs set forth in their Last Will and Testament to become operative, their Last Will must be probated with the Surrogate’s Court. “Probating” a Last Will refers to the process of having it declared valid in the Surrogate’s Court and obtaining the appointment of an Executor to administer the Estate. In order to successfully probate a Last Will, a proper Petition for Probate must be filed with the Surrogate’s Court. Frequently, disputes arise in the probate process based upon allegations of some flaw in the Law Will or the process through which it was executed, resulting in the filing of objections against the probating of a Will.

In the absence of a Will, an individual’s Estate will be distributed under the laws governing “intestacy” in the State of New York. This removes from a person the control over how their assets will be divided upon their demise. There are many reasons why a person would wish to have their Estate distributed in a manner that is inconsistent with the laws of intestacy, so it is generally advised that everyone should have a Last Will and Testament. However, where a person dies without a Will, in order to be appointed as that person’s Estate Representative, a proper Petition for Letters of Administration must be filed. When appointed, an Administrator is then required to handle and distribute the decedent’s estate consistent with the New York State laws of intestacy.

Our attorneys have a great deal of experience in handling everything from straightforward, uncontested probate and administration proceedings and the most complicated contested estate matters.