Probate Lawyers in Astoria, NY, Here to Help You Through the Difficult Legal Process Following the Death of a Loved One
When we are grieving the loss of a loved one, the last thing we want to do is to perform accounting, pay off debts, or deal with estate disputes. But unfortunately, following the death of a family member or close loved one, their estate must enter probate, which can be a long, drawn-out process in the courts where debts are settled, documents are examined, and assets are slowly distributed.
At our law firm, everyone here understands that this is not a simple case or legal matter for you. There is every possibility that this loss has deeply affected you and made this an incredibly difficult time in your life. So, when we say that there is help available to you, please understand that this is help that we offer with a full heart and complete sincerity. Matters of the court, for the legal professionals who walk those halls on the regular, can begin to lose touch with the human stories behind the cases. In probate proceedings, this is incredibly disrespectful.
Ortiz and Ortiz, LLP prides itself on providing compassionate, decent, respectful legal services to those in need. This is a challenging time for you and your family. If we can provide you with legal representation that helps you through this process quickly and efficiently, then we would be proud to do so.
To speak to our probate lawyers about your questions and concerns, please contact our law offices in Jackson Heights, NY to schedule a consultation.
When and Why is Probate Necessary in New York?
Probate is almost always necessary in the event of a death where someone leaves assets behind, which must be distributed to a beneficiary. Probate may be deemed necessary with or without a Last Will and Testament. However, the probate process typically goes much more smoothly when there is a valid will in existence.
There are some exceptions to the notion of probate ‘always’ being necessary. For example, if the decedent left behind a small estate worth less than $50,000, then New York law does not require the estate to pass through probate.
For larger estates, while the estate may need to enter probate with or without a will, if assets were put into a trust then those assets need not go through the probate process.
While probate may be necessary for most circumstances, it is not necessary for you to go through the process alone. This is a difficult time, and the probate court process can be overwhelming. Hiring an experienced probate attorney can go a long way toward making things easier for you during this period of your life.
What is the Typical Probate Process in NYC?
If the decedent left a will, they should have likely named an executor who will oversee the settling and closing of the estate during the probate process. However, the executor must be approved and named by the courts as well. If a prospective beneficiary raises an issue with the will or the named executor, there may be some dispute as to whether the executor is allowed to serve.
Once the executor has been appointed, the executor must begin the task of settling the estate. This role has many duties and responsibilities.
The Process for Settling the Estate in Probate:
- Notifying next of kin, interested parties, and creditors.
- Gathering and accounting for the assets of the estate.
- Settling any debts and expenses owed to creditors, collection agencies, banks, and lenders.
- Locating any named beneficiaries in the will.
- Potentially dealing with any will contests or estate litigation.
- The distribution of assets to beneficiaries. If there was a will, the asset goes to the named beneficiary. If there is no will, then the assets are distributed by intestate succession as outlined under New York law.
- The liquidation of any remaining assets which are not named for any beneficiaries as an inheritance in the will.
- Paying any potential estate taxes and court filing fees.
Can Our Law Firm Help You Through a Probate Dispute?
The loss of a loved one, and perceived unfairness of inheritance, can potentially cause friction between even the closest family members. In such instances, prospective beneficiaries and interested parties may contest a will in court.
Other reasons for probate disputes include instances where someone believes that the will was written under duress or undue influence by a party looking to benefit from the inheritance. Others claim that the will’s author wrote the document during a time of deteriorating mental capacity, meaning that they did not understand the documents they were signing, thus making the will invalid.
Whatever the case may be, the probate attorneys of Ortiz & Ortiz has experience representing clients both disputing and defending wills in New York. To learn more about how we can be of service, please contact our law offices to schedule a case evaluation.
Contact the Probate Attorneys of Ortiz & Ortiz to Schedule a Consultation
The weeks and months following the loss of a loved one can be difficult not only emotionally, but legally as well. Probate court can take months and cost a lot of money and sometimes play host to the beginnings of lasting schisms between surviving family members during disputes.
Just as it is perfectly okay for you to seek support from spiritual leaders or from professionals in the field of mental health, it is more than okay to ask for help from a legal professional, too.
If you would like to discuss your probate case with members of our legal team, please contact our law offices at 916-796-1858.