Wills and Probate

Wills And Probate Proceedings Should not be Left to Chance

If you die without a will, State law provides a default will. Typically your spouse and children will take the property. If there is no spouse and no children, your parents may take the property, followed by any siblings, grandparents, and descendents of the grandparents. If no relations can be found, the property will eventually belong to the state.  While this is orderly, it may be not what you wish or be in the best interest of those you love. A New York City wills and probate lawyer can advise you on your options.

When a person dies without a Last Will he is deemed to have died intestate.  Instead of a probate proceeding where a Will is filed and processed for validity, the Surrogate's Court proceeding is entitled Administration.  In the case of a Will a testator can choose the person who will act as Executor.  In an Administration Proceeding, the New York Statutes determine who can be appointed as the estate Administrator.  Estates, Powers and Trusts Law Section 1001 provides the order of priority of a decedent's heirs at law for appointment.  When there is no Will naming an Executor, a person whom the decedent did not want as an estate beneficiary or estate representative may very well be appointed as Administrator and inherit the estate assets.  The appointment of an Administrator may require that the person appointed obtain a bond.  A bond is essentially an insurance policy issued by a surety company which insures that the Administrator does not mishandle the estate funds.  The surety companies usually require that the person receiving the bond has a good credit rating.  If the closest relative entitled to the appointment as Administrator does not have a good rating, they may not be able to be appointed as the fiduciary since they cannot qualify for the bond.

Sometimes it is very difficult to determine a decedent's distributees ("heirs at law") after death, particularly where the closest relatives are cousins.  A wills and probate lawyer in New York City can guide you through this process. It may be necessary for the estate to be administered by a governmental official called a Public Administrator.  Also, the distributees may need to prove their inheritance rights through a Kinship Hearing.  A hearing on kinship requires the presentation of proof in the form of documents such as birth and death records and census reports that can demonstrate that the persons' claiming as the heirs are the only possible recipients.  This type of proof may be difficult to obtain especially if the records needed are decades old and possibly located in other states or counties.

Wills and probate proceedings are typically handled in the New York Surrogate's Courts. As a New York City wills and probate attorney, I have over 25 years of experience working on Wills and probate proceedings. I advise clients in the planing and creation of their Wills. I work to make sure that the probate and administration process proceeds smoothly and efficiently.  I represent clients in matters concerning Wills and probate and intestate administration throughout New York.  I help my clients file Court papers and administer the decedent's estate by providing full estate settlement services.

I was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1979 and admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1982 after graduating in the top 10% of my class at The New England School of Law in Boston. I was admitted to the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit and the United States District Court, for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. I started my own law practice in New York City in 1985.

To get in touch with me by phone, call (212) 355-2575. You can also e-mail me for a consultation with a wills and probate attorney in New York City.

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.
★★★★★
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
★★★★★