New York Probate and Trust Administration Attorney
Losing a loved one is difficult enough without the added stress of having to probate his or her estate. Perhaps you are wondering what is involved in probating an estate? Although every estate is unique, here is a partial list of the duties required in a “typical” probate proceeding:
- Locate and file the decedent’s will (if he or she had one) with the local court
- File necessary probate documents with the court
- Ascertain and then notify all known creditors of the estate
- Secure the decedent’s residence and tangible personal property
- Locate, inventory, take possession, close and transfer personal assets and accounts
- Appraise and determine the value of all assets
- Make payments to creditors, discharge the decedent’s obligations, and obtain creditor releases
- Process and obtain life insurance death benefits, if any
- File tax returns (federal and state) and make appropriate tax elections
- Pay estate taxes and final personal income taxes, if any
- Obtain tax releases and closing letters from the IRS, local courts, and state taxing authorities
- Make specific bequests, together with partial and final distributions, to beneficiaries.
- Provide detailed accounting to beneficiaries and the local court
As you can well imagine, accomplishing all of this takes a great deal of time. When you factor in the grief that comes with losing a loved one, the situation can seem overwhelming.
You do not have to go through probate alone. We can guide you through the process and settle the estate as quickly and economically as possible, so you can focus on what is most important—coming to terms with your loss.
Many people think that once they have funded a trust it will take effect “automatically” when it is needed. This is not the case. For a trust to carry out the wishes of its maker, the trust must be administered. Trust administration can involve opening bank accounts, settling creditor claims, obtaining a new tax ID number, tax filings with the state and the Internal Revenue Service, arranging for the sale of assets, paying the final expenses of the decedent, and more. Proper accounting practices must be maintained throughout the entire process.
Failure to properly administer a trust can have serious financial and legal consequences for the trustee. Do not take the decision to serve as trustee lightly. If you have been asked to do so, we can explain the steps involved and the potential risks in clear, easy-to-understand language. If you decide to serve as trustee, we can guide you through the process every step of the way. We can help you choose the ideal trustee if you decide not to take on the responsibility yourself. We can also work closely with your existing advisors and representatives to ensure the directives of the trust are carried out properly.
When a person dies from the negligent, willful, or wrongful act of another party, his or her loved ones may file a lawsuit to recover damages. The decision to commence an action for personal injury, or wrongful death, or both can have a significant impact on determining which loved ones actually receive any award, and the extent to which any award must be paid over to the decedent’s creditors. Moreover, personal injury and wrongful death actions typically face strict statutes of limitation, so it is vital that loved ones considering a personal injury or wrongful death action seek legal counsel quickly.
A New York wrongful death action may be commenced only after an executor or administrator is appointed by the appropriate Surrogate’s Court. We help families seek such an appointment, and navigate through the Surrogate’s Court requirements associated with their claims. Although we do not litigate the personal injury or wrongful death action, itself, we can help clients find counsel who do, and provide ongoing assistance with all aspects of the associated estate administration.
Contact us at your earliest convenience for a personal meeting to discuss your particular situation. You are not alone during this difficult time in your life.