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Long Island Probate Attorney

Legal Advocacy for Probate Matters in New York

The entire field of estate law is centered on the events of the future. As your attorneys, our duties to you and your family do not end once the plans are made. The legal processes that take place after an estate owner passes away are just as important as the preparation beforehand. The Law Offices of Steven M. Adler, PLLC are here for families of the recently deceased and offer a wide range of legal representation and guidance to resolve the affairs and estate that is left behind.

With more than a quarter of a century's experience behind us, our services for probate include the areas of:

If a loved one has recently passed away and you find yourself facing the process of probate, contact The Law Offices of Steven M. Adler PLLC. Our experienced Long Island probate attorneys want to help you!

What is Probate?

Probate refers to the legal process that takes place in New York following the death of a person who left behind a will for their estate. The court process is required in order to administer a will, but only if the assets left behind are valued at or above $30,000.

During probate, a court will go through a list of steps that will validate and distribute the will according to the wishes of the deceased and the laws of the State of New York. In order to receive their share of the estate and inheritance, beneficiaries of the will must wait through the process of probate court if the will meets the criterion.

Many people wish for a way to avoid probate—to administer the will without the financial and energy costs of court involvement. Only estates valued at or above $30,000 will need to undergo probate in the state of New York. As for the rest, a court-appointed fiduciary or administrator may be able to assist you with the required tasks.

Are There Any Advantages to Probate?

Many people see probate as a negative process because it can be lengthy and a bit costly; however, there are quite a few benefits!

Interested parties can benefit from probate in many ways, including:

  • The court will validate the will. In order for a will to be admitted, the court must verify that it is valid and in compliance with state law.
  • The estate administrator will be supervised. All actions by the executor will be closely watched by the probate court to ensure that everything is done properly. This will also give greater protection to any heirs or beneficiaries.
  • It is easier to resolve a dispute. The probate court allows for a forum to dispute various issues, such as will contests, guardianship, and conservatorship.
  • Creditors have to file a claim in a limited amount of time. After being given notice, creditors only have a short window in which they can file a claim-a matter of months in most states. A trust, on the other hand, has a statute of limitations for up to a few years.

If you are planning for the future of your estate, then you may be wondering which documents are right for you. Whether you are facing in-court probate or out-of-court administration, having an attorney guide you through it can be beneficial whether you are a fiduciary, a related family member or another beneficiary with interests in the estate. Our probate legal team will listen to your goals and advise you on the best possible solution.

Attorney Steven M. Adler has more than 60 years of probate law experience and wants to help you through this difficult time. Call our office on Long Island today at (516) 740-1184 or contact us online.

The Probate Process in New York

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 administrative proceeding and the court appoints an administrator who performs similar duties to that of an executor. ​​​​

The duties of a 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

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.

Retain Our Probate Attorney in Long Island Today

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 probate lawyer from the Law Offices of Steven M. Adler, PLLC.

We can help you manage probate proceedings in Long Island with confidence. Call us today at (516) 740-1184 for further assistance.