What to Expect from the New York Probate Process

When a loved one dies and you choose to be the personal representative, there are some general steps to take. A personal representative should expect the probate process to proceed relatively smoothly, and if there was some care taken prior to death as to the correct documentation and knowledge of who inherits what if there were no will the probate process should move quickly and efficiently. However, if you do not have all of the facts and things get very complicated, the process can take some time, and a dedicated New York probate attorney can help to lessen the pressures during this time.

Length of Probate

When there is no objection, everybody is in agreement and the required parties sign the appropriate documents, the process can be done within a number of weeks. If somebody objects to the probate of the will, i.e. someone who has standing to object such as a child who is cut out or a spouse who is cut out or not given what they are entitled to be given under the statutes, the process can be lengthy. Courts try to speed it up, but if it becomes litigation, the matter can go on for months or even years until it is resolved.

If an individual retains a lawyer, the probate process should not take that much time. If someone tries to do it without counsel, they must go to court to find out if their papers were correctly prepared. When someone is represented by a lawyer, they meet with the lawyer and talk to them and it should not be a tremendous time commitment, but every estate is different. The probate process is much simpler when the deceased person is retired and was not engaged in a business. They may have bank accounts, securities accounts, and they may own a house. When someone is involved in an ongoing business or has intricate investments, the probate process can be very time-consuming.

What Personal Representative Should Expect

People want to be treated fairly, and when there is what someone deems to be an unfair distribution in the process, that can cause all types of problems. The personal representative may have to deal with expectations of people who were told or thought they were told they would be getting something which the documents do not show.

A personal representative can find it rewarding to do and accomplish what the decedent wanted and doing it efficiently so that everybody is satisfied. Turning over assets to people who may need them to survive and to others who are very happy just to get something extra provides a great deal of satisfaction.

A personal representative should be prepared for irrationality, hostility between siblings or others involved in the estate, mistakes made in the planning where there are not enough assets or funds to go around to fulfill all of the people listed in the will, not taking them into account in the planning stage, and no preparation for taxes. The personal representative may also have to deal with conflicts between siblings and parents and children, so an attorney to help mitigate any other stresses during this time is essential.