Probate Process on Long Island

Are you an executor or administrator of an estate?

In New York, when someone dies with over $30,000 in assets, their estate is subject to probate proceedings. For those decedents who died with a will (testate), probate is the court-supervised process where the will is proved to the satisfaction of the court. The person designated in the will to administrate the estate is called the executor. The executor is appointed to carry out the wishes of the decedent according to the directions in the will.

The proceeding is filed with the Surrogate's Court in the county where the decedent lived prior to his or her death. If you were named the executor in a will, you will need to file the original will, the death certificate and the probate petition with the court. If the decedent died without a will (intestate), then the court will appoint an administrator and the decedent's assets will be distributed according to New York's statutes governing descent and distribution.

Fiduciary Responsibilities

The fiduciary is an executor, administrator, trustee or guardian. When the decedent left behind a will, the estate goes into a probate proceeding and the fiduciary is the named executor. If the decedent died without a will then the estate goes into an administration proceeding and the court appoints an administrator who performs similar duties to that of an executor; the duties of the fiduciary include:

  • Gather the assets of the estate
  • Pay all debts or claims against the estate
  • Open separate checking account for the estate
  • Comply with legal requirements for notifying those who have an interest in the estate
  • Obtain an appraisal of the decedent's assets by a qualified appraiser
  • Provide an inventory listing of the decedent's personal and real property to the court within 6 months of the fiduciary's appointment
  • Distribute all remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the will

Important: It is the fiduciary's responsibility to file all necessary tax returns and this includes final state and federal tax returns, a fiduciary income tax return and an estate tax return.

Long Island Probate Attorney

In probate and administration proceedings, the fiduciary is responsible for the prompt, efficient and impartial administration of the estate. If you were appointed as an executor or an administrator of an estate and are uncertain about the legal or financial implications of any aspect of the probate process, we urge you to consult with a Long Island probate attorney from the Law Offices of Steven M. Adler, PLLC.

With over 25 years of experience serving the Long Island community, we can help you manage probate proceedings with ease and confidence. Call us today at (516) 740-1184 for further assistance.

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