Probating a Will is the first step in any estate administration. Original Wills are often keep with attorneys for safekeeping, rather than kept at home or in a safe deposit box. The Executor must locate the original Will to file with the Surrogate’s Court for probate.
If the Will is in a safe deposit box, the Executor will have to obtain an order from the Court to open the box and retrieve the Will. It is advisable never to keep the original Will in the testator’s safe deposit box to avoid delays.
Once the Will has been located, the Executor should make sure that the probate is handled quickly and efficiently by hiring a NY lawyer familiar with probate and Surrogate’s Court procedures.
New York law requires that all beneficiaries and fiduciaries named in a Will as well as all of the decedent’s distributees (those who would benefit if there were no Will) be notified that the Will is being submitted to probate.
Any person who would be adversely affected by the probate of the Will is given an opportunity to appear in Court to object.
Such a person may sign a waiver indicating he or she consents to probate. If no one has any objection to the Will and the Surrogate believes that the testator’s last Will is valid, the Will will be admitted to probate and the person named therein appointed Executor.
Sometimes the witnesses to the Will may be required to testify that the Will is valid.
An Executor is usually not required to file a bond with the Court unless the Will requires it. If required, a bond is generally purchased by the Executor from a bond company.
The bond secures the amount of the assets of the estate, thereby protecting the beneficiaries if the Executor misappropriates them.
Unless the Will specifically provides otherwise, an Executor will be required to file a bond if he or she is not a resident of New York State.