and Peace of Mind
When people suffer the loss of a loved one, their initial focus will typically be laying the person to rest and grieving their death. Eventually, though, surviving family members must distribute the deceased person’s assets via probate or estate administration. The probate and estate administration process can be overwhelming and often causes contention between family members. It is best for anyone faced with the challenge of handling a recently departed loved one’s estate to seek the assistance of an attorney. Patrick McGlashan of McGlashan Law, P.C. is a skilled New York estate planning attorney with ample experience handling probate and estate administration matters, and if you engage his services, he will help you navigate the process efficiently and effectively. Mr. McGlashan has an office in Manhattan, and he frequently helps people with probate and estate administration in Manhattan and throughout New York.
When a person dies, the manner in which her assets are distributed depends on whether or not she has a will. If a decedent had a will, a person, typically the individual named as executor in the will, must file the will in the Surrogate’s Court and submit it for probate. Essentially, probate is the process of determining whether a will is valid. Pursuant to New York law, this means that the decedent must have possessed testamentary capacity when she executed the will, acted of her own free will, and did not revoke the will and that it was not the product of fraud.
If the Surrogate Court finds that the document is the Last Will and Testament of the decedent, it will admit the will to probate. The Surrogate’s Court will also appoint the executor, thereby granting her the authority to act on behalf of the estate to execute the decedent’s wishes as set forth in the will.
Notably, if the value of the decedent’s assets totals less than $50,000, then the executor can file a small estate or Voluntary Administration proceeding instead, regardless of whether the decedent had a will.
If a decedent passes away without a will, her estate will be distributed in accordance with New York’s intestacy laws. In cases in which a decedent lacked a will, anyone with a monetary interest in the estate can petition the Surrogate’s Court to have an administrator appointed. The administrator serves a similar role to an executor and acts as the representative of the estate. New York’s Surrogate Court Procedure Act indicates who may serve as administrator in order of priority. Specifically, it states that letters of administration will be granted to a decedent’s surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parent, and sibling, in that order. If none of those options are available, it will be granted to any other person that is a distributee and who is eligible, with preference granted to those entitled to the greatest share of the estate.
After the Surrogate Court names an executor or administrator, the person will collect all of the estate’s assets and determine whether the estate has any outstanding debts. She will then create an account of the estate, paying any debts owed, indicating the credits of the estate, and setting forth a proposed distribution. If the beneficiaries and distributees approve of the account, they will execute a Receipt and Release. The Surrogate Court oversees this process.
Managing a loved one’s estate after their death can be challenging and often causes frustration, stress, and discord among family members. If you need assistance with a probate or estate administration matter, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Patrick McGlashan, the founder and managing attorney of McGlashan Law Firm, P.C., possesses the skills and resources needed to address the challenges that arise in probate and estate administration, and if you engage his services, he will work diligently to help you complete the process in a seamless manner. Our office is located in Manhattan, and we frequently aid parties with estate administration and probate issues in Manhattan and throughout New York. You can contact us to set up a confidential consultation by using our online form or calling us at (212) 203-8738.