C. Haner Law, PLLC

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(516) 888-5381

C. Haner Law, PLLC

Probate Law Attorney Hempstead NY

Attorney Christopher C. Haner opened C. Haner Law, PLLC in 2019, with a strict focus on Elder Law. Christopher is a skilled wills and probate law attorney, serving the people of Hempstead, NY, and surrounding Nassau County. If you’ve lost a loved one and need probate representation, contact the best New York probate and estate administration lawyer in the area for a personalized evaluation.

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Probate Process

Probate Law Attorney Hempstead NY

In New York State, the process of probate is entered into when a person dies (the descendent) and leaves behind probate assets. Probate assets are those owned solely by the descendent and which a beneficiary designation was not made to automatically transfer ownership to an heir at the time of passing.

If the descendent established a comprehensive will, an heir is likely to have been selected to receive these assets. In these cases, the executor of the estate (the person designated to manage the estate of the descendent), must file documentation with the Surrogate’s Court in the county of the primary residence of the descendent. The Court will verify the will and approve the distribution of the estate.

If the descendent died without a will, then an administration proceeding must be filed. Generally, the person who is the closest heir to the descendent, dictated by New York Law, must file for administration. During this process, an administrator is appointed.

Executor, Administrator, or Voluntary Administrator Duties

When a loved one passes away, it becomes the responsibility of an heir or trusted advisor to distribute the estate of the descendent. The title of this heir or trusted advisor depends on the legal proceedings required to settle the estate.

Executor. When a person establishes a will, they will designate an Executor as part of this process.

Administrator. When a person passes away without a will, generally the closest heir to the descendent files an administration proceeding and is appointed Administrator of the estate.

Voluntary Administrator. In small estate proceedings—generally where assets total less than $50,000—the court will appoint a Voluntary Administrator, typically the closest heir to the descendent.

In each case, this person has a fiduciary duty to the estate, meaning they have a legal duty to act in good faith and not put their self-interests in front of the interests of the estate. If the descendent died with a will, the fiduciary must distribute assets as instructed by the descendent. In cases of intestate, where the descendent left no will, the fiduciary is responsible to settle the estate according to New York State Law.

An executor, administrator, or voluntary administrator have the same basic responsibilities:

  • Identify, collect, and evaluate estate assets.
  • Resolve debts and expenses of the descendent.
  • Distribute remaining assets as instructed by the will of the descendent or New York State Law.

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How Can a Probate Petition Lawyer Help?

Probate Law Attorney Hempstead NY

Probate can be a difficult time for family members. A Probate Law Attorney can assist you in each step of the process:

1. Filing the petition for probate. When a family member passes away, a probate petition lawyer can file a petition for probate with the court. This filing requests the court to appoint an administrator or approve an executor of the estate.

2. Identifying debts and assets. An experienced probate attorney can assist the executor or administrator with taking inventory of and assessing any probate property of the estate. This can include obtaining a valuation of assets, such as real estate, investments, bank accounts, cash, vehicles, personal property, and intellectual property.

3. Settling of estate debts. A probate law attorney can serve as a personal representative of the estate to settle debts accrued both during life and as a result of death, such as mortgages, credit cards, and funeral expenses. In the event the estate does not have the available funds to pay owed debts, the probate attorney can assist with the sale of estate assets to obtain the funds needed to do so.

4. Distributing assets to heirs. Once all assets are collected and debts settled, the remaining property must be distributed according to the wishes of the descendent or intestate law. A probate law attorney can aid in the process of reassigning ownership by the transferring of deeds and titles.

In some cases, the probate process is not as clear. Family members and beneficiaries may dispute the legitimacy of a will or how the instructions of a will are carried out. In these cases, it may be necessary to consult with knowledgeable probate litigation lawyers to determine if your dispute warrants litigation to reach a favorable outcome.

Probate can be a confusing process to navigate without prior experience. If you’re in the Hempstead, NY area and overwhelmed by managing the estate of a loved one who has passed, contact C. Haner Law, PLLC for a personalized probate evaluation.

Office Location

7600 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 301
Woodbury, NY 11797

Phone: (516) 888-5381

Monday - Friday: 9:30am to 7:00pm

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