C. Haner Law, PLLC

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C. Haner Law, PLLC

Probate Law Attorney Merrick NY

Attorney Christopher C. Haner opened C. Haner Law, PLLC in 2019, with a strict focus on Elder Law. Christopher is a dedicated wills and probate law attorney, working with the people of Merrick, NY, and surrounding Nassau County. If you need assistance traversing the probate process, contact the best New York probate and estate administration lawyer in the area for a personalized evaluation.

Intestate Succession Laws

In New York State, if you pass away without a will or proper estate plan, your estate will be dispersed to your closest heirs, according to intestate succession laws. This distribution occurs through a legal process called probate.

Generally, the assets passed down through probate are those solely in your name with no established designated beneficiary, such as real estate and personal property. Assets that tend not to pass through probate include:

  • Life insurance policies
  • Retirement accounts
  • Payable-on-death accounts
  • Jointly owned property

These items will pass to the designated beneficiary or co-owner, avoiding the probate process.

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Who Inherits the Estate?

Probate Law Attorney Merrick NY

If you pass away without a will, your assets will be distributed to your closest heirs, varying from surviving spouse, children, parents, and extended family. If you die having…

  • a surviving spouse and no children, your spouse inherits your entire estate.
  • children but no spouse, your children inherit everything.
  • a surviving spouse and children, your spouse inherits the first $50,000 of assets, with the balance divided between the spouse (50%) and children (50%).
  • parents but no spouse nor children, your parents inherit everything.
  • siblings but no spouse, children, nor parents, your siblings inherit everything.
  • no immediate nor extended family, the State of New York will absorb your estate.

In New York, there must be a legal parent-child relationship for intestate succession laws to apply. This means, when applicable, your biological and adopted children will inherit your estate, but foster children and stepchildren will not.

The Probate Process

Whether you die with an established will or no estate plan in place, your estate will pass through probate, although the process will differ slightly.

When you establish a will, you will elect an executor to manage the settlement of your estate. The executor will file documentation with the Surrogate’s Court in the county of your primary residence. The Court will need to verify your will and approve of the distribution of your estate.

If you die without a will in place, then your closest heir must file for an administration proceeding. During this process, an administrator will be appointed. If you pass without a will and with an estate valued at less than $50,000, a small estate proceeding may be filed where a voluntary administrator will be selected. In either case, the administrator or voluntary administrator will serve in a similar role as the executor, ultimately being the person to settle your affairs.

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How Can a Probate Petitions Lawyer Help?

Probate Law Attorney Merrick NY

Whether you pass with an established will or not, probate is a difficult time for your loved ones. By hiring a probate law attorney, your family will gain peace of mind knowing your assets will be managed and distributed with the assistance of a knowledgeable probate attorney.

A probate law attorney can support the executor or administrator of your estate in several ways:

1. Filing a petition for probate with the court, requesting an appointment of an administrator or approval of an executor.

2. Identifying debts and assets of an estate, including a valuation of all probate assets.

3. Settling debts accrued by the estate in life and after death.

4. Distributing assets to heirs, once collected and debts settled.

In the event challenges arise during the probate process, family members may seek out a probate litigation attorney for assistance in cases of

  • contesting a will,
  • undue influence,
  • mental incapacity, or
  • breach of fiduciary duties.

A probate litigation attorney is more than just an estate planner, but an attorney who has a strong understanding of estate planning, as well as experience trying cases in court.

Haner Law of New York

Probate can be a difficult process to undergo when you’ve lost a loved one. If you’re in the Merrick, 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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