New York Probate Lawyer

When a loved one passes away in New York owning assets, their estate often must pass through the court-supervised probate process. An experienced attorney may be able to ease the burden on your family during this time of mourning by assisting you with the legal matters that arise following the death of a loved one. Contact a New York probate lawyer today to help in the filing process.

Services a Probate Attorney Provides

Skilled New York probate attorneys offer a wide variety of services including:

  • Filing a petition with the appropriate court
  • Providing notice to heirs
  • Providing payment to creditors of the estate
  • Petitioning to appoint Executors or Administrators
  • Inventory and appraisal of estate assets
  • Calculation and payment of any estate taxes owed
  • Filing income or estate tax returns
  • Coordinating distribution of assets to rightful heirs

Filing Probate

A probate is initiated when the Executor of the estate files a petition along with the decedent’s original will, death certificate and applicable filing fee with the New York Surrogate’s Court in the county where the decedent lived.

After the petition, if filed, the Surrogate’s Court will make a determination regarding the validity of the decedent’s will. In New York, a will is generally valid if it was signed by a competent person in the presence of two independent witnesses. A will nominates an Executor and also states who the decedent wishes to inherit their estate.

After a will is allowed, the court will issue Letters of Testamentary giving the Executor legal authority to act on the estate’s behalf and carry out the terms set forth in the will.

If a person dies intestate, meaning they died without a will, paperwork will need to be filed with the court for an administrative proceeding. The decedent’s assets will then be distributed according to New York laws of intestacy. This usually means that someone’s assets will be distributed to their spouse or closest living relatives. An Administrator, as opposed to an Executor, will be appointed as the fiduciary for an estate of a person who dies intestate.


A case will only need to be opened if a person dies owning more than $30,000 in their sole name. If a person dies with or without a will having less than $30,000, a voluntary administration proceeding may be filed instead.

If a decedent’s assets were jointly owned and there is a surviving joint owner or if their assets are owned in a trust, probate can usually be avoided. The assets will pass by operation of law to the surviving joint owner or trust beneficiaries. Assets with designated beneficiaries such as retirement accounts of life insurance policies will also pass outside of probate.

Estate Litigation

Once a probate proceeding has started, a person may file an objection. Objections are often filed to contest the validity of a decedent’s will or the appointment of a particular Executor. Contested probate matters may develop into lengthy trails. If there are disagreements that arise during the course of a probate proceeding in someone’s family, New York probate attorneys could represent them and work to resolve these disagreements.


The New York probate process typically takes a month to conclude. The appointed Executor or Administrator is in charge of collecting and distributing the decedent’s assets in accordance with the decedent’s will or the New York laws of intestacy. The complexity of a decedent’s estate will impact how long it takes to fully administer his or her estate.

Talk to a New York Probate Attorney Today

Coping with the death of a loved one is never easy. By allowing an experienced attorney to help you with your case, you can alleviate the stress of having to deal with a probate case by yourself. An experienced attorney may also be able to assist you with valuable information regarding the best course of action in a probate case. Contact New York probate lawyers today.