When a loved one passes away, their estate may be subject to probate or estate administration. Strictly speaking, “Probate” means that the decedent died with a Last Will and Testament, while “Administration” means that the decedent died without a Will. Either way, the “Probate” process is the way in which those who are supposed to inherit are able to access the decedent’s individual assets. The Probate and administration law is governed by the Surrogate’s court.
However, this process can be lengthy, and notice must be given to certain parties, not simply the beneficiaries. Creditors may be entitled to receive payment from the estate assets, and any applicable estate taxes must be satisfied. In some cases, objections may be made to the Will and a “Will Contest” can ensue. Such disputes can be time-consuming and expensive.
That’s where The Law Offices of Katharine J. Richards, P.C. can help. We understand the complexities of the probate and estate administration process and will work with you to ensure that your loved one’s estate is properly distributed with a minimum of time, expense, and taxes.
How We Can Help
Our team of experienced attorneys will assist you throughout the probate and administration process, including:
- Filing the necessary petitions with the Surrogate’s court
- Notifying beneficiaries and creditors
- Identifying and valuing estate assets
- Distributing assets to beneficiaries
- Paying estate debts and taxes
- Handling will contests and disputes
We know that this can be a difficult time for you and your family, which is why we aim to make the process as stress-free as possible. Our team will keep you informed throughout the process and answer any questions you may have.
Avoiding Probate and Estate Administration
At The Law Offices of Katharine J. Richards, P.C., we also encourage proactive discussions about options to avoid probate and estate administration when appropriate. Some options include:
- Creating a Living Trust
- Gifting assets during your lifetime
- Designating beneficiaries on retirement accounts and life insurance policies
Our attorneys can advise you on the best course of action for your unique situation.
If you need assistance with probate or estate administration, or if you would like to discuss options to avoid these processes, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team is here to help you navigate this difficult time and ensure that your loved one’s wishes are carried out.