Estate Administration Lawyers in NYC Can Help You Through Probate and More
No matter how much we accrue in this life, there comes a time when everyone will leave their assets behind. When this happens, the estate administration process helps ensure that debts are paid, and appropriate asset distribution occurs. Unfortunately, this is often much easier said than done. There are many difficulties that can arise during this process. Without the help of legal counsel, it may be difficult to ensure that a decedent’s estate is administered how they prefer. Whether you’re concerned about your own assets or are trying to deal with everything a loved one left behind, an estate administration lawyer in NYC may be able to help.
At Marchese & Maynard, LLP, we have many years of experience dealing with the probate process and other estate issues. These years of experience make us uniquely qualified to handle anything from proper estate planning to difficult administration proceedings. It’s never easy to lose a loved one, and it’s even more disheartening when those left behind have to deal with stressful probate issues. Fortunately, our law firm is here to help. Contact our estate administration attorneys in NYC today to learn more. We offer a free consultation so you can get a better understanding of what you’re up against.
How Does the New York Probate Process Work?
When a person dies in New York, their estate assets often have to go through probate. This is the process of distributing assets to the rightful heirs. It has significant connections to elder law, estate planning, and other legal areas, but it always takes place after the estate owner’s death. Many people use the terms probate and estate administration interchangeably, but there are some distinct differences. Probate is a process that plays out in court to ensure the proper distribution of assets. Estate administration may involve this process, but it also covers other estate-settling issues such as identifying assets, paying debts, and more.
Family members go through probate when their loved one dies with a will. The will must first be filed with the Surrogate’s Court. The court will ensure that the will is valid, and if so, the court appoints the person named as executor in the will to distribute the estate of the deceased. However, this isn’t the end of the involvement of the probate court. They will continue to oversee the entire process. This may sound like a lot if a loved one’s estate wasn’t significant, and in such cases, you may be able to file a small estate proceeding. Estate executors are often unsure of how to proceed, however, and that’s why our legal team is on standby and ready to assist.
What Happens When Someone Dies Without a Will?
If someone dies without a will, things can become more complicated. This is particularly the case if there is a significant amount of assets that are not protected from probate — a process we’ll discuss in more detail later. Without a will in place, though, the wishes of the deceased cannot be known. This results in estate administration processes being handled by the courts. They will decide who receives what from an estate, and these decisions will typically be based on the relational proximity of surviving loved ones to the deceased. However, the most important step in this process is the selection of an estate administrator.
When a person dies without a will, they don’t have an executor to handle their estate. This is where an administrator comes in. They essentially have the same job. They’ll need to collect all assets, file an inventory, handle all taxes and debts, and distribute any remaining assets to heirs as provided under New York Law. An estate administration attorney in NYC can prove invaluable during this process. That’s because the administrator has taken on a fiduciary duty, and any mistakes while handling this duty could leave them potentially liable for damages. However, this doesn’t mean you should shy away from such duties.
Someone needs to handle this process so that other family members and loved ones can move on with their lives. Contact Marchese & Maynard, LLP, today for legal assistance.
Who Can Serve as Executor or Administrator?
When someone writes their will, they can choose whoever they want to serve as executor. This could be one of their favorite family members or an estate lawyer they worked with while alive. However, there are certain rules when appointing an administrator. While a person can request to handle the estate administration of a deceased person — with the permission of heirs and the court — it’s also frequently necessary for the court to simply assign the duty to someone. They will grant Letters of Administration to this individual. The following parties are eligible, and they’re listed by priority:
- Surviving spouse
If none of these individuals are available, the court will typically assign the duties to whichever heir is entitled to the largest portion of the estate. In some situations, multiple individuals may have a right to administer assets. This can create difficulties when there are disagreements, and in some cases, it could even lead to estate litigation. However, it’s often possible to avoid such an outcome. The law is meant to serve the best interests of the decedent and their heirs. With an experienced estate administration lawyer in NYC on your side, it’s easier to understand state laws and minimize the risk of tension in this process.
Does Everything Have to Go Through Probate?
Whether you’re looking at elder law or real estate contracts, there are typically nuances to all legal matters. This is just as true in probate law as anywhere else. While it may seem like common sense that all of a decedent’s estate would need to go through probate, this isn’t always true in New York City. In fact, there are several steps a person can take during estate planning to simplify the administration of their assets once they’re gone. For instance, the following assets can often be distributed to designated beneficiaries as soon as the estate owner passes on. These assets include:
- Any properties jointly owned or owned in tenancy by the entirety
- Bank account funds where a beneficiary is designated
- Retirement funds where a beneficiary is designated
- Assets held in a living trust or irrevocable trusts
- Retained life estate property transfers
Such estate assets can simplify the entire probate administration process. They leave less to be decided in probate, and it allows the owners of such assets more control over who receives them after their demise. However, these assets are not always as straightforward as one might hope. For instance, tenancy by the entirety creates property where both owners have 100% ownership. However, jointly-owned properties are split — and this means a surviving owner will only retain rights to their portion of asset ownership. This is just one of the many ways that estate administration can get difficult even when probate isn’t involved.
Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with this on your own. The estate administration lawyers in NYC at Marchese & Maynard, LLP are ready to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Do You Need an NYC Estate Administration Attorney?
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need an estate administration or probate attorney on your side. Assets would be easily distributed as intended, and no problems would arise. Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t always play out in this manner. And even when it’s clear what the deceased individual wanted after their death, the complexities of the process can make it difficult for surviving family members. This is why it’s so important to speak with an estate administration attorney in NYC before embarking on this process. Additionally, having a legal team on your side will allow you to focus more on planning and grieving alongside your loved ones.
While simplifying the entire probate and administration processes is a major benefit, an experienced attorney can also help with other potential issues. For instance, what if someone with power of attorney improperly closed a bank account following the death of a loved one? What if a creditor claims that the deceased owed them money without proof? What if an estate plan was created by an attorney who overlooked important aspects or there was an undue influence during the creation? These are all important questions that an estate administration lawyer in NYC can help answer. Unfortunately, time is of the essence with these and other estate issues. Contact us today so we can help.
Contact an Estate Administration Lawyer in NYC Today
Whether probate looks like it might go smoothly or estate litigation seems likely, it never hurts to have an experienced law firm on your side. If you’re trying to simplify the distribution of your assets once you’re gone, estate planning attorneys can help ensure all your “ducks are in a row.” And if you’re serving as the estate fiduciary for a loved one’s property, having legal assistance can minimize the risk of costly mistakes that could slow down a probate proceeding or the administering of assets. Those who are left behind after a family member dies have a lot to contend with, but estate administration doesn’t have to add to these difficulties.
At Marchese & Maynard, LLP you’ll work with an experienced estate planning attorney who is dedicated to simplifying this process. Whether it’s verifying debtors, covering estate taxes, providing representation during litigation, or even making sure simple estates are distributed fairly, our probate law firm is ready to help. And since you can schedule a free consultation to speak with an estate administration lawyer in NYC right now, there’s no risk in learning more about your unique situation. Contact us today by calling 646-362-8600 to schedule your legal evaluation. We know these are difficult times and are ready to help you through them.