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New York Probate Without a Will

Long Island Lawyer

A common myth about the probate process is that, when a loved one passes away and does not leave a will, the state will receive all of their assets. If the deceased had assets that are worth more than 30,000 dollars, probate must take place.

The person who is acting on behalf of the deceased is called the probate administrator. Usually an administrator is a spouse, child, grandchild, or any close family relative. If people cannot agree on who should act on behalf of the deceased, the court appoints a neutral public administrator to perform the same function as an executor. The person who is deemed administrator must file an administration petition with the Surrogate's Court where the decedent lived. A hearing is arranged for the administrator to appear before a judge, and the court issues a letter of administration. This allows the administrator to handle the decedent's probate property and accounts.

The Duties of the Probate Administrator

As an executor would, an administrator is in charge of collecting, inventorying, and appraising all assets that are subject to probate. This is also known as "probate estate", and is property that the decedent directly owned. This includes money that is owed to the decedent or estate, such as paychecks, life insurance, or retirement accounts. Trusts, payable-on-death accounts, or other assets that did not directly belong to the decedent, are not considered probate estate.

After this step is complete, bills, taxes, estate expenses, and creditors must be paid. The administrator must review the decedent's bills, debts, and claims against them, along with the supporting proof. Finally, the estate property will be transferred according to the state laws of intestacy succession. A person who dies without leaving a will is referred to as "intestate" and the New York EPTL 4-1.1 is to be followed. This law explains all possible variables of those who survive the decedent, and how the assets are to be divided amongst them.

Contact a Long Island Attorney

Probate without legal aid can be tiring and time consuming. If not handled properly, a probate case can take years to finalize. A lawyer who is knowledgeable and recognizes the laws and procedures of probate can make a world of difference.

Attorney Michael J. Brescia has over a decade of probate and estate law experience, and he has helped hundreds of clients resolve their probate issues. Our office is located in Smithtown, but we represent clients from Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, and Rockland County, as well as the metropolitan areas of New York. A free case evaluation form can be filled out and submitted on our website, and a free initial consultation can be held in our office or over the phone.

Contact a Long Island lawyer from the firm today if your loved one died intestate.

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