Probate Court Documents

What Are Probate Court Documents?

The structure and content of probate Court documents vary from state to state as do probate laws. Probate Court documents can include: a Will, if there was one; codicils (amendments) to the Will; a petition for the appointment of an Executor or Administrator; a list of heirs or beneficiaries; and an inventory of the decedent's estate assets at the time of death. As a New York City probate court lawyer, I have represented many clients in matters of probate, fiduciary appointment and estate administration.

The New York Surrogate’s Courts have specific forms and documents that require detailed information that must be filed in probate, administration and other proceedings. The forms and information assist the Court in determining the relief that is being requested such as the probate of a Will or the settlement of an Executor’s account.

In addition to the original of the decedent's Last Will and an original death certificate, the main document needed to commence the probate proceeding is the Probate Petition.  This paper must contain information regarding the name of the petitioner which is typically the person nominated in the Will as the Executor.  If the primary Executor is deceased or unable to act then the person named in the Will as the alternate or successor Executor will file the petition.  The petition must be signed and notarized.  It also contains information such as the date of  the Will, the names of the attesting witnesses and the estimated value of the decedent's personal property and real property. 

The value of the property that is listed in the petition should include only these assets that comprise the decedent's probate estate.  These are typically items that are owned by the decedent in his name alone and without any named beneficiary.  Assets that are owned jointly or that have a named beneficiary such as a life insurance policy are not included as part of the probate estate.  Also, the petition  lists the names and addresses of all beneficiaries and the decedent's distributees.  The Surrogate's Court does not permit the probate process to be completed until all the information is completed in the petition. A probate court lawyer can help New York City residents complete it.

Another essential paper is a Waiver and Consent form that can be signed by the decedent's next of kin.  This form tells the Court that these family members do not contest the Will.  If the form is not signed then the Court will issue a Citation which is served on the non-consenting individuals and directs them to appear at the Court on a certain date if they want  to contest the Will.

Another paper that may be required is a Kinship Affidavit if the Court needs more information regarding the decedent's distributees.

As a probate court attorney in New York City, I have many years of experience in the NY Surrogate's Courts involving probate court documents and the accounting of the estate when it is finalized.  The Surrogate's Court in each New York County in a proceeding such as a Queens Probate proceeding may want to see documents that are prepared in a manner that is acceptable to that particular court.  If you have any questions just call (212) 355-2575 and someone will assist you or fill out my contact form for a free appointment with a New York City probate court attorney.

Client Reviews
Jules Haas helped me with managing the process in probate court for my father's estate through to its completion upon the sale of my father's house. He was knowledgeable, efficient, and effective in submitting documentation to the probate court, explaining procedures to me, and advising me as to the progress of my case. His support staff was also very helpful. He made what for me created so much anxiety into something manageable where I could see progress every step of the way. His fees were very reasonable. I am super grateful to him for all the help he has provided and strongly recommend his services.
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I found Mr. Haas after being misguided by a former attorney. Mr. Jules Haas took our case which involved an estate/trust dispute. What initially seemed like an impossible and overwhelming legal fight was now in the hands of someone who had the integrity and legal expertise to win our case. Mr Haas' attention to detail and his expert knowledge base, skillfully and successfully guided us through an intricate legal process. I am very thankful and grateful to Mr. Jules Haas for representing our interest and ultimately winning. Bringing about a peace of mind we needed. Thank You Devida Nedd
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I was in need of a guardianship attorney and I hired the services of Jules M. Haas' Law firm. The service of counselor Haas and his staff, was very profesional and the case was handled in a timely matter. I would strongly recommend his services Angel Guevara
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I strongly recommend Jules Haas. I have worked with him for two years and he has provided so much support and followed through with everything he promised he would do. His support staff is just as helpful! We had an interesting case and he helped to solve each part of it legally and was very thorough. Thank you for everything you have done to finalize our families estate Robyn Stafford
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