Wills and Probate Services
Estate planning begins with a last will and testament. You don't want to leave your family with a confusing and incomplete estate plan and you don't want to leave your children subject to a judge-appointed caretaker. Proper estate planning is essential, and there are many wills and probate services that can help you.
Planning a New York estate requires time and effort to understand the nature and value of a person's assets. These assets may take many forms. Some funds or real estate may be owned jointly with another person such as a spouse. In certain cases bank accounts may be owned individually but have a person named on the account as a designated beneficiary. These accounts are commonly known as "Totten Trusts". Upon death, the bank funds are paid directly to the beneficiary. There are also assets that may have a designated beneficiary such as life insurance and retirement funds such as an individual retirement account or 401K plan. The important point to recognize for planning is that a Last Will is going to control the disposition of items that are held in the name of the decedent alone. Jointly owned funds or real estate or items such as insurance that have a specific beneficiary will pass directly to such named person and will generally not be subject to the terms of a Last Will. The creation of an effective plan must take into account the nature of these items to be effective since the named beneficiaries, if any, may vary from asset to asset.
Upon the death of a loved one, I can help you navigate the wills and probate process and determine which services are best for you. I can guide you through the duties of an executor, help you with legal notices, claims against the estate, and the transfer of the property to beneficiaries. I have helped many clients with will and probate services.
For example, in order to probate a Will typically the named executor prepares a probate petition to be filed in the Surrogate's Court in the county where the decedent resided. If the decedent lived primarily in Queens County, then the Will is to be probated in the Queens Surrogate's Court. The petition must contain essential items such as information regarding the decedent, the Last Will including the names of the witnesses, the estimated estate value and the names and addresses of the decedent's next of kin and the beneficiaries named in the Will. Additional information may also be required. I work with clients to prepare the probate petition and all other papers required by the Court in the probate process such as Citations, Notices of Probate and Affidavits of Kinship. It is important for the Court to have information regarding the decedent's next of kin ("distributees") because these persons have a right to receive notice of the probate proceeding even if they are not named in the Will. Distributees may contest the Will if they feel that there is a basis to invalidate it due to undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity or improper execution. A Will contest can be a very complex proceeding and the assistance of a good New York probate lawyer can assist with these types of court proceedings.
After graduating in the top 10% of my class at The New England School of Law in Boston I went on to open my own law office in 1985. I provide my clients with personal representation and work with them towards successfully resolving the issues and matters they are involved with.
For personalized attentive service and a free case evaluation you can contact me by telephone: (212) 355-2575, fax: (212) 751-5911 or e-mail