Probate Attorney in Manhattan

Probate can be an overwhelming experience. The probate process can be long and exhausting. You may have to work out complex matters with a probate court or deal with drawn-out challenges to a will. The right Manhattan probate lawyer can take the stress off you and keep things moving forward as efficiently as possible.

At Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP, our Manhattan probate lawyers have decades of experience helping families during this challenging process. Our probate lawyers can help you understand what to expect and take the burden off you. Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the formal process that the government uses to administer an estate. This process usually involves:

  • Filing for probate by presenting a will and other documents to the court
  • Notifying creditors and interested parties
  • Gathering and appraising the estate’s assets
  • Settling the estate’s debts and taxes
  • Distributing any assets

Any challenges to the will or the probate process will be settled in court.

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Understanding NY Probate Law

New York probate law can be complex and confusing. For executors and those managing an estate, the existence of a will is a crucial issue. Probate law works very differently for an estate with a will in place versus an estate without one:

  • What happens when there is a will? If a will is in place, it probably names someone as executor to handle the estate. If you are the executor, you can file the will in probate court with a petition, a death certificate, and other documentation the court requires. If no one contests the will, the probate process should move forward normally. The executor handles assets, takes care of debts, then distributes the remainder to beneficiaries named in the will.
  • What happens when there is no will? When there is no will, the process can be significantly more complicated. An executor will need to be determined according to law. That person is the closest distributee and is usually a family member. Once the executor is in place, the administration of the estate begins. However, during the probate process, the estate is divided and distributed according to New York’s default probate laws rather than the decedent’s terms.

What to Expect in the Probate Process

The probate process can be lengthy and may include these steps:

  • Obtaining the will and determining the executor.
  • Speaking with a probate lawyer in Manhattan. If you are an executor or have questions about the probate process, an attorney can advise you on the law and how to move forward.
  • Filing for probate with the court.
  • Participating in any court hearings and obtaining letters of administration.
  • Notifying creditors and other interested parties. As part of probate, you will need to formally notify organizations and individuals.
  • Gathering and appraising any of the estate’s assets. The appraisal can require independent specialists who can examine property and determine what it may be worth.
  • Understanding the debts owed by the estate. As part of the probate process, you must put together detailed lists of the estate’s debts.
  • Liquidating or selling assets as needed. You may need to liquidate certain assets to pay the estate’s debts. This process requires you to keep detailed records about how you sold the assets.
  • Settling debts and taxes. As part of probate, you must pay any debts owed to creditors or taxes owed to the government. You must also file any tax forms that the government requires.
  • Once all outstanding estate issues are settled, you may be able to distribute the assets and close the estate.

What Are My Duties If I Am Named Executor of the Estate?

As an executor, you will have many duties to fulfill. Those duties include:

  • Getting a copy of the will, including any changes or amendments
  • Submitting the will for probate with the court
  • Notifying any interested parties, including banks, creditors, and others
  • Identifying assets and having them professionally appraised
  • Protecting the estate and its assets
  • Working with the court to resolve any disputes
  • Determining the estate’s debts or taxes and paying them with estate funds
  • Liquidating or selling property held by the estate
  • Distributing the remainder of the estate to beneficiaries

Potential Disputes During the Probate Process

During the probate process, topics of dispute may include:

  • Whether the will is valid, potentially related to drafting issues or concerns about the deceased’s capacity to make a will
  • Undue influence on the person who drafted the will
  • Interpretation and operation of trusts
  • Alleged breach of executor duties
  • The location of the probate process, especially when assets are spread across multiple states
  • Who is to receive certain property when the will is unclear or there is no will in place

How a Manhattan Probate Attorney Can Help

If you have lost a loved one and need advice on settling the estate, a probate attorney at Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP can:

  • Review the will and identify any potential issues
  • Advise you on the law and how it may affect your duties
  • Handle any paperwork and obtain copies of official documents
  • File your petition with the court
  • Help you resolve the tax issues faced by the estate
  • Assist you with the inventory and inspection of the estate’s assets and debts
  • Manage any court appearances
  • Advocate for you and the estate in any disputes

If you need to start probate or are already going through it, contact Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP today. Our Manhattan probate attorneys have decades of experience helping clients navigate this stressful process. Whether you’re dealing with a simple estate or a complex one, our lawyers are ready to help.

Call Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP today or contact us online for a free consultation.

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