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Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1422: Record Of Wills;  Evidence

The term “probate” means the action of proving. In the case of a last will and testament, in New York probate is the legal process that occurs in the Surrogate’s Court during which the original copy of a will is proved or validated. Once a will is probated or proven, the Surrogate’s Court judge will issue a decree admitting it probate, and will allow the process of the administration of the estate to begin. However, there instances in which the original will is somehow lost. According to Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1422, Record of wills;  evidence, the decree issued the Surrogate’s Court that a will has been duly admitted to probate can serve as evidence in place of an copy of the original will, that the will was proven. To learn more about how probate works and what to do if the original will is lost or destroyed, contact an experienced New York probate lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Related statutory provisions
  1. Proceeding to compel production of will: Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 1401
  2. Probate not allowed unless court satisfied: Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 1408
  3. Notice of probate: Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 1409
  4. Who may file objections to probate of an alleged will: Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 1410
Record of wills;  evidence

In the case of an original copy of a will that has been lost or misplaced, under Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1422. Record of wills;  evidence, a certified copy of the record of the decree from the Surrogate’s Court is sufficient proof that the will was admitted to probate.

Administration of an estate

Administration of an estate begins when the decedent’s will is submitted to the Surrogate’s Court for probate. This is typically done by the executor named in the will. The named executor will also petition the Surrogate’s Court to issue him (or her) Letters Testamentary. Letters testamentary is a decree that is issued by the Surrogate’s Court when it formally appoints the executor that is proof that the executor has the legal authority to carry out the administration of the estate. For more information about when an executor would need to produce his Letters, contact an experienced New York probate lawyer.

  • Gathering estate assets. One of the first jobs of the executor is to identify the assets in the estate. This involves collecting all paperwork related to the decedent’s financial affairs, taking possession of personal property, opening a new bank account for the estate and transferring cash from the decedent’s accounts, and secure property. The executor should also file claims on behalf of the estate such as veteran’s benefits. If the decedent owned a business, the executor must make sure that the business is properly cared for.
  • Paying estate bills. It is important that the executor understand the value of the estate, as it is his responsibility to use estate assets to pay valid estate debts and expenses. This may include debts owed by the decedent at the time of his death as well as bills and expenses associated with the management of the estate. The executor is also responsible for defending the estate against improper claims, and must not pay invalid claims. The executor must ensure that all tax returns are filed and taxes paid on behalf of the decedent as well as the estate.
  • Distributing your assets. Ultimately, the executor must distribute the estate assets to the beneficiaries based on the terms of the will.
Estate administration when there is not a will

As an experienced probate attorney in New York will explain, if the decedent passed away intestate, meaning that he died without leaving a valid will, then the estate will be administered by a court appointed estate administrator. Any interested party who is eligible can petition the court to be appointed estate administrator. The estate administrator performs essentially the same duties as an executor would. The main difference is that the estate administrator does not have a will to guide his (or her) actions. Instead of estate assets being distributed to beneficiaries based on the terms of the will, they will be distributed to the decedent’s legal heirs based on New York’s rules of intestate succession.

Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1422. Record of wills;  evidence

A certified copy of the record of the decree admitting a will to probate and of the record of the will so admitted to probate shall be received in evidence in any court in any action or proceeding with the same force and effect as if the original will had been produced and proved in such action or proceeding.  The recording of a will in the court shall be evidence that it was duly admitted to probate.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

For over twenty years probate attorneys in New York at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have represented clients with skill and compassion in matters related to probate, estate administration, and estate litigation before the New York Surrogate’s Court. If you are an interested party such as an executor, beneficiary, heir, or fiduciary in a matter related to the requirements of New York SPCA section 1422, Record of wills;  evidence, or any other will, estate, or trust matter, contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Long Island, Nassau County, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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