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Frequently Asked Questions about Probate and Estate Administration
Q: What is probate?
A: In general, probate is the court procedure by which a will's validity is proved, assets collected, creditors paid and the remaining assets distributed to beneficiaries under the will.
Q: What is a will contest?
A: A will contest is a legal action that challenges the validity of a will and/or the terms of the will. Will contests typically involve allegations that a will was inadequately executed, invalidated by a later will or was the result of forgery or undue influence.
A will contest can result in a significant delay in the distribution of a loved one's assets, and can also be expensive.
The law office of GREENFIELD STEIN & SENIOR, LLP, provides comprehensive estate planning, estate administration link to estate planning and estate administration, and probate litigation services. We are one of the premiere firms in New York in litigation of will, trust and probate disputes. We serve clients throughout New York City, including the five boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Long Island.Contact our midtown Manhattan law office to schedule an appointment with an estate planning attorney or probate lawyer
Probate and Estate Administration - An Overview
Estate administration refers to the process of probating the estate of a decedent, which generally includes collecting, inventorying and appraising assets; paying and collecting debts; filing and paying estate taxes; and distributing any remaining assets to beneficiaries. An attorney experienced in probate and estate administration can help simplify this complicated process. If you need help in the administration of an estate, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation with a probate attorney.
The Probate Process
Probate is the court process used to determine the validity of a will and oversee the payment of creditors and distribution of estate assets. Even if there is no valid will at the time of death, the estate will still go through the probate procedure. Since probate is regulated by state laws, there are specific procedures prescribed by each state for carrying out the process.
Role of the Executor
An executor is the person named by the creator of the will (the testator) to carry out the terms and provisions of the will. In addition to locating important documents and notifying Social Security, pension providers, annuity providers and other entities of the death, the executor has numerous other legal responsibilities.
Assets disposed of outside the probate process are part of the non-probate estate. Because a probate proceeding is not required, these assets are distributed more quickly to the appropriate beneficiaries. Many people seek out these assets and ownership models to save their loved ones from the difficulties associated with going through probate.
The fact that a person leaves a will does not guarantee that her or his property will be distributed according to the will's terms. A court generally must provide an opportunity to allow others to object to the will, and a legal challenge, called a will contest, may be brought by anyone with an interest in the will who believes it is invalid.