New York State Estate Administration and Probate Attorneys

New York

When someone passes away, their affairs aren't usually perfectly organized. There are situations when a will exists, but it has issues. Sometimes there is absolutely no will. You will require assistance navigating the difficulties created by the probate and estate administration processes in New York if substantial assets are involved and you are a potential heir.

Our estate planning attorneys have extensive experience in probate and estate administration and can assist you in protecting your inheritance and honoring the wishes of your loved ones.

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Knowledgeable and Experienced Estate Administration and Probate Attorneys in New York State

Estate administration is the process of managing the estate of someone who has passed away (the decedent). This process is handled in accordance with applicable laws and, when available, a valid will. During the administration process, expenses, taxes, and debts are paid, and the remaining assets are distributed in accordance with the decedent’s wishes or pursuant to state law.

This process can be very complicated, particularly when someone dies without leaving a valid will. At Tully Rinckey PLLC, our experienced estate administration attorneys stand ready to assist you and your family at this difficult time.

Our attorneys apply their extensive knowledge of New York probate court to guide you through the complex process of probating a will. We assist executors in all steps of the process, including:

  • Creating a plan of action to probate the estate fairly and expeditiously;
  • Filing the will with the New York probate court;
  • Closing and opening bank accounts;
  • Transferring assets from the deceased to the estate;
  • Paying taxes and other debts;
  • Locating beneficiaries; and
  • Hiring professional experts when necessary.

Probate Process

Each county in New York State has a Surrogate's Court that deals with the administration of estates for those who had their principal residence there at the time of their passing. When a person passes away leaving a will, someone must apply for probate, or the Surrogate's Court's approval, of the will. The will is submitted to the court by the designated executor, and all interested parties are given due notice in order to allow for the hearing of any will-validity objections. The court will issue letters testamentary, allowing the executor to acquire legal ownership of the decedent's assets if the will is accepted. The executor must settle any estate debts before starting to distribute the estate's assets in accordance with the terms of the will.

Probate and Non-Probate Assets

It is critical to distinguish between probate and non-probate assets during the estate administration procedure. Certain assets, such as accounts with a designated recipient, may proceed directly to that beneficiary without going through the probate process.

Many of the decedent's assets may already be in the trust if a revocable living trust is employed, in which case the trustee can distribute the assets without having to go through the probate procedure. There may be a pour-over will, which directs that any residual assets subject to probate should be transferred to the trust for distribution in accordance with its conditions.

Without a will, the "closest distributee"—also referred to as the "administrator"—may request to handle the estate's affairs. In the absence of a surviving spouse, the children of the deceased have equal rights to administration. A spouse has the right to administer on behalf of the deceased person's children. In this procedure, letters of administration rather than letters of testamentary will be issued by the Surrogate's Court. Handling the administration of an intestate person's estate can be complicated, which is why good estate planning is essential.

Probate Disputes

When disputes occur between beneficiaries, we successfully represent your interests. Our New York attorneys have the extensive knowledge to challenge invalid wills or to defend valid wills against the improper assertions of dissatisfied beneficiaries. Skillful mediators and litigators, our attorneys can negotiate between beneficiaries to preserve relationships or fastidiously pursue your rights in court when necessary.

Get In Touch with Our Probate and Estate Administration Attorneys Today

Estate administration can be quite difficult, especially when someone passes away without leaving a legal will. Our knowledgeable estate administration lawyers at Tully Rinckey PLLC are available to help you and your family at any point in your estate administration journey. While you can try to go through the probate process alone, there is no greater peace of mind than having a consultation with a legal professional.

To schedule an initial consultation with a member of our experienced team, contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 8885294543 or You can also book your consultation online via the link below.

You can also use our secure Live Chat feature to connect with us regarding your matter. You will be connected with a member of our client relations team ready to assist you.

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