Probate is unlike any other area, other than divorce, in that people have lost loved ones and they’re going through a life change. In addition to the legal expertise, we handle our clients based on exactly what their needs are. Some of them prefer to give all the information at once. To them, staying active and dealing with everything at once is part of their grieving. Others are so overwhelmed with grief that they need to take baby steps. If you tell them you need a document that they don’t have in their possession, they could break down in tears. We assure them that there’s no time limit and they didn’t do anything wrong by missing a document. We treat each person as an individual and we help them. We understand it’s a grieving process, so we help them with the grief as well as their legal needs.

What Exactly Is Probate?

Probate is a process where you submit a deceased person’s will to the Surrogate’s Court for final closure of their affairs. For example, a brother and sister could serve as co-executors as they wind up the affairs of their parent. Letters Testamentary, are basically authorizations from the Surrogate’s Court which permit the Executors to gather the assets of the decedent (the person who passed away) and dispose of them according to the Last Will and Testament of the decedent. Letters Testamentary specifically state the survivors or other individuals that are appointed to handle the affairs. This can include selling property, or gathering up the assets of the loved one, for a final distribution to the heirs.

What Are The Factors That Set The Stage For Probate To Occur?

Typically, someone has passed away and that someone has left assets that were in their name and are unable to simply be transferred from one person to another. For example, their home was in their name at the time they died. You cannot just transfer the title to the home. The Court would have to appoint an executor or executors, after verifying that the Last Will was valid and legally sufficient.

What Are Some Common Misconceptions That People Have About Probate?

The first common misconception is that they themselves will have to go to probate court. They may have to testify and there may be a hearing, but if the heirs are not fighting, they probably will never have to go inside a courtroom and instead simply sign legal documents consenting to certain actions.

Is Probate Necessary?

Probate is necessary when the person who passed away left a Will and assets which cannot be disposed of without probate. In addition to a home, if there were bank accounts, stock accounts, or cars that were in the decedent’s name, they would have to be transferred from the decedent into the name of the decedent’s estate before they could be disposed of. You’d have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to transfer title to an automobile. They would require the original Letters Testamentary from the court, proving that there was authorization to make this transfer of the automobile. However, probate would not be necessary, if you had the name of your beneficiary on your bank account and the account was held as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Likewise, life insurance usually doesn’t have to be probated because it goes directly to a beneficiary who’s named.

For more information on Going Through Probate Process In New York, a free case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (212) 748-9477 today.

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