C. Haner Law, PLLC

Call Now For A Personalized Evaluation

(516) 888-5381

C. Haner Law, PLLC

Probate Lawyer Levittown NY

If you’re hearing the term “probate” for the first time, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many people are unfamiliar with the concept of probate until the time comes for them to encounter it first-hand, often due to the death of a loved one. However, if you are investing in solid estate planning (as just about everyone should), probate is an essential concept to understand—ideally before you have to deal with it personally.

What is probate?

Probate is a legal process that takes place in many cases after a person dies. It exists to make sure that a person’s will is valid, that their estate is appropriately accounted for, that their taxes and debts are paid, and that the rest of their estate is appropriately distributed. Each state has its own laws that govern the probate process.

Phone IconCall Now For A Personalized Evaluation(516) 888-5381

How does probate work in Levittown, New York?

Probate Lawyer Levittown NY

In New York, the probate process usually follows the following steps, providing there are no disputes or conflicts.

The executor is named. Many wills designate an executor. The executor is responsible for representing the decedent, managing their assets through probate, and facilitating the distribution of their estate. If there is no will, or if the will does not name an executor, then a friend or family member can petition to be named. Otherwise, the Court will appoint a third-party executor.

The executor files for probate. Probate is handled through the New York Surrogate’s Court. To admit a will into probate, the executor files a probate petition, along with a certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate and an original copy of the decedent’s will, to the Surrogate’s Court in the county where the decedent lived.

The Court verifies the will, grants probate, and empowers the executor. Providing there are no issues with the will or petition, the Court will usually grant probate. The Court will also issue Letters Testamentary, which legally empower the executor to act on behalf of the estate.

The executor gives notice. The executor notifies all of the decedent’s creditors and heirs that their estate is in probate.

The executor inventories the estate’s assets and debts. The executor finds, secures, and lists all of the decedent’s assets as well as their debts.

The executor pays the decedent’s debts and collects on debts owed to them. Whenever possible, all of the decedent’s outstanding debts must be paid. This includes taxes, mortgages, and any other loans. If the estate doesn’t have enough cash to pay its creditors, the executor may have to sell off assets to do so.

The executor distributes the remaining assets in accordance with the will. The executor makes sure all remaining assets are distributed as provided for in the decedent’s will.

Do all assets go through probate in New York?

No. Only some types of assets (“probate assets”) must go through probate in New York. Generally, probate assets are assets which solely belong to the decedent and do not have a designated recipient. This usually includes:

  • Homes or properties owned exclusively or solely by the decedent
  • Cars and other vehicles
  • Heirlooms and art
  • Furniture and antiques
  • Fine jewelry and clothing

Are there assets that do not have to go through probate in New York?

Yes, there are several types of assets that can forego the probate process in New York. These usually include:

  • Jointly held checking, savings, brokerage, and investment accounts
  • Jointly held properties and real estate
  • Any bank accounts with a named beneficiary
  • Any life insurance policies with a named beneficiary
  • Any assets held in trust
  • Retirement accounts (i.e., IRAs, 401ks)

Should I try to avoid probate if possible?

In most cases, it is best for your heirs/beneficiaries if you avoid probate. The process can be very long, overly complex, and exceedingly expensive, especially if there are any challenges along the way. There are a few exceptions to this rule. One example is if a decedent dies with many complex debts that require asset liquidation to pay. Otherwise, in the majority of cases, it is advisable to set up your estate such that it does not have to go through probate. An experienced, knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you plan your estate to ensure that your assets are non-probate.

Phone IconCall Now For A Personalized Evaluation(516) 888-5381

My loved one’s estate is going through probate. Should I hire an attorney?

Probate Lawyer Levittown NY

When it comes to New York probate, it is definitely advisable to hire a specialized probate attorney. The probate process can be incredibly complex and bogged down in obscure formalities, procedures, and terminologies that can be incredibly difficult to navigate as a layperson. If you are still mourning a loved one, the last thing you want to do is try to tackle an often-convoluted legal process like probate. This is especially true if the probate process is complicated by issues with the estate or challenges to the will. A qualified probate attorney who is knowledgeable about New York probate law can help take the burden out of your hands, and ensure that your loved one’s estate is resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Are you in need of an experienced probate attorney in Levittown, NY? New York Probate Attorney Christopher C. Haner is here to help. Attorney Haner is an experienced, knowledgeable, and empathetic attorney who understands the needs of people seeking help with the probate process. He is a devoted, passionate advocate for his clients, and will go the extra mile to make sure your probate experience is as stress and pain free as possible. Call (516) 888-5281 for a free consultation on your case today.

Office Location

7600 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 301
Woodbury, NY 11797

Phone: (516) 888-5381

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

Click to activate map

Phone IconCall Now For A Personalized Evaluation(516) 888-5381

Copyright©2024, C. Haner Law, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.