New York Estate Administration
If you have lost a spouse or family member, you know how heartbreaking this experience can be. While you are still reeling from your loss, you may be called upon to handle your loved one’s estate. Most people are fairly unfamiliar with this process until they are forced to handle it within their own family. Estate Administration is when the assets of the decedent are gathered up and accounted for, and eventually distributed to the heirs of the estate. In addition, the estate will be responsible for paying any debts left by your loved one. This process, depending on the situation, can be complicated and lengthy. If your loved one did not have a Will at the time of their passing, or its validity is in question, a Probate Litigation matter can ensue, complicating the process further. If you are facing an Estate Administration situation, it is important to contact a New York Estate Administration Lawyer as soon as possible.
When your loved one has passed away, the first thing to do is locate the Last Will and Testament. There may be other Estate Planning documents which should be located as well, such as a Living Trust. It is important to locate these documents right away, because they will determine the direction that the Estate Administration process will go. Once the Will is located, your New York Estate Lawyer will submit the document, and a petition to the Probate court for administration. The court will verify that the Will is valid, and may require that other documents be filed, such as affidavits, waivers and citations. The court will then issue Letters Testamentary and appoint an executor. The executor will be responsible for handling the estate, paying the bills and distributing the estate’s assets to the heirs. This process and the amount of paperwork involved can be a large undertaking. It is important to approach this process with the assistance of a New York Probate Lawyer to ensure that the matter is handled as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
If your loved one’s Will cannot be located, the case will go through a different legal process. The court will request an administration petition, along with a large amount of documentation as mentioned above. The court will issue letters of administration, and usually a family member or close friend will be appointed to act as the administrator of the estate. In both these scenarios, all estate administration dealings are with the New York Surrogates Court.
Whether a person is appointed as an executor or an administrator, the tasks required are very similar. Both are obligated to perform their Estate Administration duties to the best of their ability and manage and preserve the assets of the estate. This can include handling bank accounts, investments, homes, and cars. Failure to appropriately handle these tasks can result in an action of negligence or mismanagement against the executor or administrator, so great care is required when handling these duties.
It is not uncommon for family conflicts to arise during the Estate Administration process. Family members may become disgruntled, question the validity of the Will (known as a Will Contest), or the distribution of assets. When emotions run high in matters such as this, it is important to have a New York Probate Lawyer handling the matter. This will ensure that the case runs smoothly, and will ensure that your loved one’s wishes are ultimately honored.
Handling the administration of a loved one’s estate is not only difficult but emotionally draining. Contact a qualified New York Estate Lawyer from the office of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC to assist you. We will provide you with sound advice and a free consultation with your first appointment. Wherever you are in New York, chances are there is a location near you, from Brooklyn to Queens, Suffolk County to Westchester County. Call us today to receive your free appointment at 800.696.9529.