When someone dies in New York without a will, which is known as “dying intestate,” a family member should start a probate proceeding in Surrogate’s Court, seeking Letters Testamentary so that the decedent’s estate can be probated.
In addition to signing a Last Will and Testament, you should consider forming one or more trusts to transfer some or all of your assets while you are still living.
The most common types of trusts are: revocable, irrevocable, marital, charitable and special needs trusts. An experienced attorney can advise you on whether you should have a trust and if so, what kind.
A will must be “probated,” which means it must be filed with the Surrogate’s Court. The Executor named in the will must then do whatever is legally necessary to carry out the wishes of the decedent as set forth in the will, and file a report with the court. An experienced attorney can guide you through this entire process.
There is no particular time frame required, but if the executor does not move forward to settle the estate withing a reasonable time frame, the court can step in and even remove an executor.
Disputes and litigation can develop if a family member or someone else challenges the will on the basis of some procedural defects, that the decedent was not mentally competent when he or she signed the will, or was subject to undue influence or coercion.
If a “will contest” is filed challenging the will, then you definitely need an experienced lawyer to represent you, or you may feel that there is a basis to challenge a will yourself. Even if there is no will contest, it is strongly recommended that you retain an experienced attorney to guide you through this process.
For more information on Dying Without Estate Planning In New York, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (646) 366-0884 today.