When someone dies in New York leaving a Will, in most cases that will has to go through a legal process called probate. For the probate process to begin, the Will has to be shown to be valid in the Surrogate’s Court in the county where the individual who died was a resident.
In order for the Will to be valid, it must have been signed in the presence of at least two witnesses. The individual making the Will must be legally competent to make a Will.
To start the probate process, the original Will and a petition are filed in the Surrogate’s Court. This documentation is usually filed by the person who was appointed as Executor in the Will. Relatives who believe the Will is not valid or have an issue with the Will may choose to file an objection to the probate. The court will look at the Will and the petition to determine if it has jurisdiction over the case, and to see if there are any issues involved with the Will. Once the issues have been resolved, the court will allow the probate process to begin and will issue Letters Testamentary to the Executor.
Once the Letters Testamentary has been issued, the Executor has the authority to begin administering the estate, which includes making an inventory of the deceased’s property, paying taxes and debts and distributing the property in accordance with the wishes contained in the Will.
If you have any questions about how the probate process works, or if you are searching for a probate attorney, call the New York Probate Attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer at 716-542-5444. Our attorneys have a substantial amount of experience with New York Probate cases, and we will be happy to help you.