Probate

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Probate refers to the offering (by your probate attorney), entering, and ultimately acceptance of a Last Will and Testament in the Surrogate’s Court. When there is no Last Will – the estate does not go through probate but through “Administration” (though your probate lawyer can handle this as well).

An estate that goes through administration is bound by the defaults laws of the State. As probate attorneys, we are well-versed in those default laws and the statutory exceptions and applications that can be made. 
 
An estate that goes through probate is bound by the terms of the Last Will and Testament previously executed by the deceased. As probate lawyers, we know both how to handle the process of probating a Last Will, as well as the grounds and process for objecting and challenging a Last Will.
 
When someone dies and they owned property that does not transfer (or otherwise get disposed of as a matter of law), either the probate or estate administration process assists the heirs and beneficiaries get control of the estate. A probate attorney is useful in the court process because only a judge can appoint the Executor or Administrator of an estate (and give control over the processing of that estate to that person).

Our Process

1. Gather Initial Information

Who died and when? Gather or order death certificate, Last Will and Testament, family tree. What is in the estate in terms of assets and liabilities?

2. Assess & Investigate

Analyze any Last Will and Testament. Identify potential challenges and issues to overcome. Investigate any whereabouts-unknown relations or interested parties. Assess whether other court orders are required such as interim (expedited temporary) orders.

3. File, Serve & Attend Court

Draft petitions, attach supporting documentation, file papers in court, receive return of process date, arrange for service of process, and attend that court date.

4. Dispose of Challenges & Settle the Estate

Your probate attorney can help you marshal the assets of the estate, pay creditors, and distribute the proceeds in accordance with the wishes in the Last Will and Testament, or in accordance with the “defaults” by law.

Trials & Tribulations

Our excellence in court and trials makes us the best choice for a probate lawyer. A decade in court, thousands of arguments appearances, and hundreds of trials has honed our legal skills – and you don’t have to employ those trial skills for them to be a sharp and valuable tool to have at hand.

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As experienced probate lawyers, we know you have questions. We have the answers you need.

Gather Initial Information

This is the first step – we’ll need an original certified death certificate. We’ll also need that Last Will & Testament (if it exists). We’ll need to have information about the family – even if they aren’t in the Last Will and Testament. Do you know what assets were owned by the deceased before they died? Do you know what liabilities there were? What kind of properties? How were the properties held (were they jointly held with another)? What about creditors?

Who died and when? Gather or order death certificate, Last Will and Testament, family tree. What is in the estate in terms of assets and liabilities?

Death certificate

Last Will and Testament

Family Tree

Approximate estate assets list

Approximate estate liabilities list

Known creditors

Assess & Investigate

Time for your probate lawyer to analyze that Last Will and Testament. What are the provisions? Investigate and assess for challenges, irregularities in form and execution. Collect consent papers from interested parties. Plan the course forward depending on if there are challengers or consent hold-outs.

Analyze any Last Will and Testament. Identify potential challenges and issues to overcome. Investigate any whereabouts-unknown relations or interested parties. Assess whether other court orders are required such as interim (expedited temporary) orders.

File, Serve & Attend Court

 
Time for your probate attorney take some court action. File petitions with Surrogate’s Court, serve any non-consenting parties, and be ready to attend a return date and schedule hearings for any objections or challenges to the appointments and entry of a Last Will and Testament to Probate.
 
Draft petitions, attach supporting documentation, file papers in court, receive return of process date, arrange for service of process, and attend that court date.

Dispose of Challenges & Settle the Estate

Upon favorable conclusion of any challenge hearings, your probate lawyer will be in receipt of the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration – giving you control over the estate of the deceased. Your probate attorney can help you marshal the assets of the estate, pay creditors, and distribute the proceeds in accordance with the wishes in the Last Will and Testament, or in accordance with the “defaults” by law. 
 
After orders are received, assets collected, creditors paid, and net proceeds of the estate distributed – an accounting must be rendered (unless waived by parties and approved by the court) to support your application to be relieved from the Executor or Administrator r

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