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Wills and Probate Court

Wills and the Role of Probate Court

Probate is the process by which a person's last will is validated by the Court.  When a person dies, the Last Will is filed with the Court.  The probate proceeding involves the preparation and presentation to the Court of various papers and notice to the decedent's next of kin. These individuals are called distributees. Wills and probate court can be very complex, and a New York City wills and probate lawyer may be helpful to assist you.  

The initial papers filed with the Surrogate's Court are usually the Probate Petition, the Last Will and the decedent's death certificate.  The probate petition must contain very specific information regarding the decedent and the distributees.  Sometimes there may be a need for preliminary Court filings.  For instance, if the decedent died at home and the police department was called and the home was sealed, the Court can issue an order allowing a person to search the home to look for a possible Last Will. If a Will is found, it can be filed with the Court and the probate process can be started.  Also, sometimes a person is withholding a Last Will and refuses to file it with the Court for the probate process to begin.  When this occurs a petition can be filed with the Court to force the person to appear in Court and produce and file the Will.  On the Court date the Court can direct that the Will be produced for probate.

In most instances, the probate proceedings are straight forward and the Last Will is admitted to probate or validated by the Court. The Court will then generally appoint an Executor who can administer the estate and distribute the estate assets according to the Will provisions.

Occasionally, the validity of the Last Will may be contested or the Court may determine on its own that certain formalities or aspects of the Last Will presented to it prevent the Court from admitting it to probate. A wills and probate lawyer can help New York City residents understand this process. There are numerous procedures that can be involved with determining the validity of a Will.  One common process is provided by the New York Surrogate's Court Procedure Act Section 1404.  This statute allows certain persons who are interested in the estate to obtain information and pre-trial testimony regarding the preparation and the execution of the Will.  Testimony can be obtained from the attorney who drafted the Will and the witnesses who signed the Will when it was executed by the decedent.  If there appears to be valid problems regarding the Will, objections can be filed and there can be a trial of the Will Contest.

Since the decedent is no longer alive to tell or explain his or her desires, it is up to the Court to make sure that the Last Will filed with the Court is a valid document expressing the decedent's wishes. Wills and probate Court protect the decedent's estate plan.

As a wills and probate attorney based in New York City, I have many years of experience working with and advising clients in probate proceedings and the creation and implementation of estate plans that effectively express the clients’ personal desires regarding the disposition and protection of assets. while providing potential tax advantages and security for family and beneficiaries. I graduated in the top 10% of my class at The New England School of Law in Boston and served on the prestigious “Law Review.”

Do you need a New York City wills and probate attorney or have any questions about a probate matter or your estate? Contact me by phone at (212) 355-2575 or by e-mail

Client Reviews
I am very grateful to Mr. Jules Martin Haas attorney of law in New York. I am from Buenos Aires Argentina. He managed with expertise a very difficult situation. of a complicate heritage from my aunt Anna Grodzka that lived and died a very long time ago in New York. I recommend him not only for his extraordinary knowledge but also for his kindness. Irma CW Peusner
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
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
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
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. Diana Janer
I just completed an estate transaction where Jules Haas represented my client in an estate and he did a great job! He was very quick at responding to all matters throughout the sale process, he was detailed, he was knowledgeable and he was a pleasure to work with. I just recommended him to some new clients who are going through an estate matter and will continue to recommend him. Rodolfo Lucchese