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When a person dies, if they have a will and their estate is valued at more than $30,000, the will must be filed for probate, which is the legal process of asset distribution to heirs and beneficiaries and debt payoff to creditors. Due to the substantial paperwork and court appearances often involved, enlisting the aid of a skilled probate attorney can be of significant assistance during the probate process. These tasks can be especially burdensome following the death of a loved one, and an experienced lawyer can remove that stress during what is an already difficult time.
In New York State, probate matters are processed through the Surrogate’s Court in the county in which the deceased individual resided. The executor named in the will is obligated to file that document and a certified copy of the death certificate along with the probate petition. This petition must contain the names of all heirs. These individuals are then served a citation that allows the court to decide the rights of all involved parties. Heirs can either sign a waiver for consent to the executor’s appointment or protest it in front of the court. All non-family beneficiaries must also receive notification of the probate proceedings. A filing fee is assessed according to the size of the estate.
The American Bar Association says the average probate case takes six to nine months to complete after the initial filing. It can take much longer if disputes arise that require litigation to decide certain elements of the estate.
An adept probate attorney can file the necessary petition and supplementary documentation and attend all scheduled hearings on the estate. They can provide a detailed appraisal of the entire estate to ensure proper and accurate valuation and contact all creditors to set up a final payment plan. They can also facilitate the distribution of assets to heirs and other beneficiaries in accordance with the will and the executor.
To learn how Goldberg Sager & Associates can help with the organization and distribution of your loved one’s estate, contact a Brooklyn, NY probate attorney at 718-514-9516 for a free consultation. If you are unable to travel to our offices for a meeting to discuss your legal matter, we are more than happy to come to you.