Transcript - Probate Made Easy
My name is Jules Haas and I’m a attorney practicing here in New York for over 30 years. A large part of my practice concerns the probate and estate settlement with respect to decedent’s estate. In fact my blog is called the New York Probate Law blog. Many times clients come to me and they’re confused about what probate means. In fact sometimes they say, well, you know, it sounds like a very mysterious type of thing. But in fact, probate is not very mysterious. What probate is, is essentially the validity of a will. Right? When a person passes away, the court must validate a person’s last will, in order for it become effective. What the probate process is, is the validity of the will and the court saying that this will is valid. In order for a will to be declared valid by the court it needs to be signed and prepared in fa way that is according to the statues in New York. For instance, there must be at least two witnesses, the will should be writing, it has to be signed and declared by the person who is preparing it, meaning the testator in a certain manner. As long as the will is done according to those aspects of the law, the court will validate it. The probate process also is fairly straight forward and it’s provided in the various laws in New York which are the estates powers and trust law and the surrogate’s court procedure act. Essentially, when you go to probate a will, a person fills out a petition, to file with the court which contains all of the information regarding the decedent and the last will, the names of the witnesses, the value of the estate and who the next of kin are. That petition along with the original will is filed with the court. Once that is done, proper notice has to be given to all of the close family members. It’s usually a rare instance when a will is contested, although the courts are filled with will contests. The fact of the matter is that most will contests do not invalidate a will as long as will is prepared properly by a professional. So, rather than it being a mystery, the most important thing a person should do is sit down with someone, an attorney, discuss what’s needed to prepare a will, and what’s involved in the probate process. This way a person can feel comfortable about benefitting their family members, preparing an estate plan and not worry about what will happen when their will needs to be probated.