When you are grieving death of a loved one, the last detail you want to handle is hiring a probate attorney to help probate the estate. Experienced probate attorneys are skilled at handling these most painful times in your life with professionalism.
Many people do not understand the duties of a probate attorney and will attempt to probate the estate on their own. However, this often puts them in a disadvantage. Below is an overview of the importance of hiring an attorney to assist you with navigating the probate process:
3 Tasks Your Probate Attorney Will Perform:
1. Collect necessary paperwork.
There are many necessary court forms to file throughout the probate process. These forms will require information from specific documents. Your probate attorney will provide you with a list of the required documents, such as the will, death certificate, bank statements, and deeds to any real estate. These documents allow the attorney to create an accurate inventory of the assets, as well as fill out the court documents with the correct information. If these forms are not properly filled out and filed, then the judge may reject the forms which can cause significant delay in probating the estate.
2. Payments of debts.
Your probate attorney will assist with determining final bills and outstanding debts to be paid from the estate. These debts could include mortgage payments, homeowners’ association dues, utility bills, insurance premiums due at time of death, car payments, or taxes. By paying these debts, the attorney is ensuring the assets do not become diminished or risk losing any of the property contained in the estate.
New York law requires creditors to make a claim within 7 months from the time that the Court issues authorizing the executor to take control of the estate. It is the duty of the executor to pay valid debts with the estate assets, and the executor is not able to disburse the assets to beneficiaries prior to the payment of all valid claims. If the executor does distribute the assets prior to 7-month period and payment of valid claim, then the executor may be personally liable.
3. Distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
When the probate process has come to an end, it is time for the assets to be divided among the named beneficiaries of the estate. The attorney will ensure the personal representative divides the assets in strict compliance with the plan set by the court. The attorney will also advise of any estate taxes which will need to be paid prior to distribution. The attorney may assist the personal representative in preparing a final document to be filed with the court advising of the distribution and to close the probate action.
Probate can quickly become a complicated process. Hiring an attorney will provide you with peace of mind that your loved one’s estate is administered efficiently and with the beneficiaries’ best interests. If you need to hire a knowledgeable and experienced probate attorney, call The Law Office of Antony M. Eminowicz, PLLC at (845) 481-4688 or contact us here for a free consultation.