Probate is the process of validating a deceased person’s will. Since no two probate cases are the same, the length of time it takes for the process to conclude can vary greatly. From start to finish, probate can range from months to several years. The process involves gathering assets and real estate, determining creditors, identifying liabilities, paying taxes, and ensuring rightful heirs are ascertained.
Here is a breakdown of what a basic New York probate timeline typically looks like:
- Months 1 -3 — The will of the deceased is located, and a copy is distributed to beneficiaries, thereby beginning the probate process. The will also provides the name of the personal representative or executor of the estate and explains how assets will be distributed. Additionally, a death certificate is acquired and is filed together with the will and probate petition at the New York Surrogate’s Court.
- Months 3-6 — During the next 3 months, the personal representative is responsible for identifying and notifying any creditors of the deceased’s death. Additionally, the personal representative must compile a list of the deceased’s assets, determine the extent of their estate, and inventory their safety deposit box.
- Month 6 — At the semi-annual mark, the personal representative is responsible for having the estate and assets of the deceased appraised.
- Month 7 — Once the estate has been evaluated, the personal representative must decide which property should be sold and who gets which assets. If you are the personal representative, it is in your best interests to consult with an accountant as well as an experienced estate planning attorney before the appraisal and sale of the decedent’s estate or assets.
- Month 8 — At around the 8-month mark, it is time to close out creditor claims, pay creditors and tax bills, and resolve any disputes with other parties.
- Month 9 and on — The last step in the probate process is to prepare a final accounting and to distribute assets in accordance with the will.
Unless you have a background in law, the probate process can be confusing. Whether you have been named as the executor of a will or need help drafting a comprehensive estate plan for your family, it is in your best interests to consult with a knowledgeable legacy preservation lawyer.
Contact a skilled New York estate planning lawyer today
The Law Offices of Lissner & Lissner provides dedicated counsel on probate, wills, trusts, and other aspects of estate planning in New York. To discuss your legacy concerns with an experienced attorney, call (212) 307-1499 or contact us online.