When someone 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. Probate and administration law is governed by the Surrogate’s court.
The timeframe to complete each process can be lengthy. Further, 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.
At The Law Offices of Katharine J. Richards, P.C,., we will assist you throughout the probate and administration process in order to ensure that your loved one’s estate is properly distributed with a minimum of time, expense and taxes. We also encourage proactive discussions about options to avoid Probate and estate administration when appropriate.