When a person dies leaving assets in their own name alone, there is often a need to Petition the Surrogate’s Court in the County where that Decedent lived in order to appoint a Fiduciary to be in charge of their Estate. Once appointed, this Fiduciary will marshal the assets, pay any reasonable claims and timely claims or liabilities and make distributions of the net Estate to the beneficiaries in the context of either a formal or informal accounting summarizing the actions taken by the Fiduciary.
Therefore, the first question to always ask is: Did the Decedent leave a Will that appoints a Fiduciary and directs the disposition of the Decedent’s assets?
If the answer is no, there is no Will – the Surrogate’s Court Proceeding to have someone appointed in charge of an Estate (a type of Fiduciary called an “Administrator”) is necessary through what is called an Administration proceeding.
If the answer is yes, there is a Will – the Surrogate’s Court Proceeding to have the Will admitted to probate as valid, and to appoint someone in charge of the Estate (a type of Fiduciary called an “Executor,” who is usually the nominated person in the Will of the Decedent), is called a Probate proceeding.
What is Estate Administration by an Executor or Administrator?
Once either the Executor or the Administrator is appointed, they will Administer the Estate assets and pay the liabilities. Once these two steps are complete, the Fiduciary will also distribute the Estate assets either: (1) according to terms of a Will declared to be judicially valid and admitted to Probate, or (2) according to the laws of New York’s intestacy statute, which governs inheritances when there is no Will or the Will fails and is judicially declared to be invalid.
What is the Estate Administration Process in New York?
The Executor named in the Decedent’s Will, or a Court-appointed Administrator when there is no Will, is responsible for settling all the legal and financial issues surrounding the Estate. Depending on the complexity of these issues, the process of Administering the Estate can take about a year or longer. This process involves a series of crucial steps, including the organization of documents, determining any lingering kinship issues, managing debts or foreclosures, and much more.
What Does an Estate Lawyer Do?
The process of Probate or Administration can be a complex, lengthy process. There are many twists and turns the process can take, especially if there are questions regarding the validity of a Will or a question of who the Decedent’s heirs are when there is no Will.
An Estate lawyer can help clients with all Estate Planning issues or with Probate and Administration to help avoid uncertainty as to the disposition of assets upon death. This ensures that wealth can seamlessly be transferred between generations with maximum impact. An Estate lawyer can also prevent the nightmare of loss or squandering of Estate assets that are the basis of an inheritance.
With an Estate lawyer’s assistance, you can rest assured that every aspect of your Estate is legally documented to where the assets should be administered after death, as well as handling the Estate Administration Probate process itself.
At N. Khasidova & Associates, we plan for your future so that you’ll have peace of mind. Our attorneys utilize an individualized approach and never shy away from complex legal issues or family dynamics.
We’re ready to work with you, and your loved ones for your Estate Planning and Estate Administration needs.
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The lawyers at N. Khasidova & Associates have extensive knowledge and experience drafting Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney specific to individual circumstances. Get in touch with our team today to start planning for your future.