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What is Probate in New York?

There is a probate process in every state and every state has its own requirements. In New York a will only needs to go through the probate process  if the assets in the estate are worth over $30,000.00.  The Personal Representative of the person who died (the decedent) is responsible for presenting the will to the Surrogate Court in the county where the person died.  The Surrogate Court makes a determination as to the legitimacy of  the will.  This process protects the estate from someone presenting a fake will to the court.

Valid Will

A valid will in New York is signed in the presence of at least two witnesses who also witness each other sign and who attest to the mental capacity of the testator (the person making the will) and to the fact that the testator is not under any undue influence. If there is any question as to the validity of a will, individuals must file an objection to the court and the court will conduct a hearing and accept evidence as to the validity of the will.

Letters Testamentary

Once a will is found to be valid, the court may issue “Letters Testamentary” which gives the Executor or Personal Representative the authority to administer the estate according to the instructions provided in the will and to pay all taxes or debts on behalf of the estate with the estate assets. Creditors are put on notice when a will is probated and they have a limited amount of time to make claims on the estate.

Getting Legal Help

Probate can be a simple process or it can be complicated and time-consuming.  Experienced New York Estate Administration Attorney Elga Goodman has helped many families through the Probate Process in New York and she can help you protect your loved ones and your assets in the process. Contact us today at 973-841-5111.


Posted in: New York Estate Planning