Buffalo Probate Lawyers
Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys Handling Estate Litigation and Contested Wills in Western New York
Probate is the process of proving that the Will of a deceased person (testator) is in fact his or her will and reflects his or her wishes. The purpose of probate is to prove the validity of the will, have the executor appointed and administer the estate. A will may not be probated unless the Surrogate’s Court is satisfied as to the genuineness of the will and the validity of the execution (signing) of the will. A will is not operative until it is admitted to probate by the Surrogate’s Court. Admission to probate requires establishing, upon due notice to all required persons, that: (1) the Will is the Will of the decedent; (2) that it has been signed and witnessed and otherwise executed as required by law; (3) that at the time of its execution the decedent was of sound mind; and (4) that it, indeed, was the last will and testament of the decedent. The execution of a subsequent Will revokes an earlier will. When the court is satisfied that the above conditions have been established, the Will is admitted to probate and is effective for all purposes, including the transfer of the title to real property. Until such admission to probate, the Will has no force and effect and the named executor has no authority.
A Small Estate or Voluntary Administration is used when the decedent had less than $50,000 of personal property and no real estate