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Probate & Intestate Administration

Probate is the Surrogate's Court process by which a Last Will and Testament or Will is proved to be genuine and valid. In fact, the word probate is a Middle English word meaning "prove." To probate a will is to prove the will is genuine and valid to the court's satisfacrion.

In New York and many other states that observe "solemn" probate, the probate process is based on the democratic principles of notice and an opportunity to be heard. Ideally, the designated executor files the will with a petition and supporting documents, seeking admission of the will to probate. Notice of the petition and a date to be heard in court must be given to certain interested parties. The process can be time consuming and it gives the people who would receive your property if you do not have a will the opportunity to object to your will if you have not left those people their intestate share.

Most clients desire a smooth and relatively painless will probate or intestate administration. Our experience and presence in the probate courts of Southern New York and New York City going back over twenty years fascilitates efficient uncontested probate and administration for our clients. 

We have a strong and successful record representing executors and trustees, beneficiaries and other interested parties and enforcing their rights in contested probate and intestate proceedings. Attorneys here are also successful negotiating solutions with other parties, when in the client's best interests, that resolve differences and quickly get the probate process back on an "uncontested" track.

There is a limited time frame and special rules for objections to a will. The decision often involves a challenging process of weighing the chance of being disinherited with the likelihood of success in enforcing one's rights. The rules for discovery and examination are prescribed by statute and court rules and are rife with pitfalls for the uninitiated. The time to consult an attorney regarding a will contest or contested probate is as soon as possible after becoming aware that the testator has passed.