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Probate Lawyer Staten Island
Did you know that it takes an executor an estimated 570 hours of effort to settle a mid-sized estate? Generally, the more complicated the estate, the more the effort that is required for successful resolution.
Additionally, do you know that your success in any probate case starts with an experienced law firm? We have seen many people failing to handle even a small probate issue because they decided to go at it alone.
Even if the probate case is minor and you feel you have all the facts, handling the issues without a probate lawyer in Staten Island can be risky, especially when the dispute’s extent isn’t apparent. If you fall prey to accept a quick settlement out of court, you might fall prey to a low settlement, way lower than you were to receive.
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The Probate Administration Process
Probate refers to the act of proving a will in front of the court. The aim is to identify the assets that belonged to the decedent, match them with the heirs then distribute them to the intended heirs as named by the court or the will.
Modest vs. Larger Estates
Staten Island, unlike other boroughs, has little distinction based on the value of the estate. This means that the phrases small, large or regular estates might not be so applicable to the process. However, in many ways, the estate’s value determines the amount of the bond required by the executor.
While there is little distinction between the estate sizes, the administration of some estates can be simple and others hard depending on the size. An estate, even if it’s small but has multiple beneficiaries, disputes, creditors and property located out of state, might be challenging when it comes to handling it. Though many executors try hard to navigate the probate process without the help of the most qualified probate lawyer Staten Island can offer, working with one who has probate experience is a wise move.
The Probate Timetable
The probate process goes through a number of steps that need to be handled right.
Initiating the Process
The first step in administering the Staten Island probate process is to present the will of the decedent to the court then qualify the personal representative or executor of the estate. You can only initiate this process in the county where the testator had permanent residence by the time he passed away.
If the testator had no permanent residence place, then this should be the place where the person owned real estate. If he didn’t have a residence or real estate property, this is the county where he owned property when he passed away. If the testator died out of their estate, then the will can be admitted to probate in the county where he had property.
In Staten Island, the person in possession of the will has to deliver it to the probate clerk within 30 days after the decedent’s death. Failure to deliver the will within this given time is found guilty of a misdemeanour. It is liable to pay any damages to the beneficiaries for the damage caused by this form of neglect.
We know how hard it is to handle the death of a loved one while at the same time, you deal with legal issues. This is why we are here to assist you in initiating the process of Staten Island probate.
Formal Probate in Staten Island
Also known as a solemn form, the interested person will file with the clerk to verify the petition that outlines:
- The date the testator died and where they passed on.
- The last place of residence of the testator.
- The nature of the estate of the decedent.
- The relationship you have with the decedent, the beneficiaries under the will and the spouse.
The county clerk will serve a notice to all the interested parties that require them to appear for the scheduled hearing and show any cause why the will shouldn’t be admitted to the court.
Before the executor enters a probate order, the court allows an interested party to file the notice of contest; then, the clerk will issue a guide on what to do. The role of the bond is just to make sure that the executor doesn’t make mistakes when executing the estate.
The good news is that it is possible to avoid the bond requirement. The will might have a provision that states that the personal representative won’t require to be given a bond at all.
If the will in the borough needs a bond, the personal representative will decide based on the value of the probate estate.
Issues in Probate Law that Need the Best Probate Lawyer Staten Island Can Offer
As probate lawyers in Staten Island, we come across issues that repeat themselves year-by-year with the same outcomes. We understand that there are easy cases, and we have tough ones as well.
Let us look at the issues that make life difficult for the beneficiaries during probate.
The Internet Will
Example: Poor Sam. He was trying to save a few bucks by getting a will prepared online and paying $5 for the will. Unfortunately for sam, what he didn’t realize was that the will was prepared unconventionally. They didn’t follow the guidelines that have been set in Staten Island.
Remember that for a will to be valid in Staten Island, it needs to have the following:
- Must be handwritten.
- It must be witnessed by two people that sign against the will in the presence of each other.
- It must be notarized.
Sam’s will didn’t meet these requirements therefore, it became invalid even before it was printed. As a Staten Island resident, the will won’t work in court, and this means the probate court takes over.
A Family that Hates Each Other
Some families just don’t see eye to eye, and they don’t care about resolving the issues that they have between them. Unfortunately for these families, these issues translate into delays and high costs when one of the parents passes away. These fighting siblings end up in probate court, and these differences turn out to be a curse during this period because personal issues are projected to the probate process.
Some family members look at probate litigation as the only way to get even for all the bad things that happened in the past. Disputes occur, and every party comes with their lawyer to handle the case. This shouldn’t be the case at all.
The Relative that Runs the Show
Usually, when a senior member starts needing more support, it is not uncommon for a relative to move in to provide the support. After a few months of offering the support the person needs, they start acquiring more influence than they need. The relative can soon influence the senior to slot them in the will, which shouldn’t be the case at all.
The Other Marriage with Kids and Property
The current family structure in the borough has changed. Second and third families with kids are very common. What isn’t common is that the parents don’t realize early enough that these families come with burdens and issues that need to be handled well before death happens. The law has the tendency to handle children from other marriages differently from children from the main marriage.
“No Need for a Will” Person
If you do have significant assets, then there is no need for a will since you won’t have anything for the beneficiaries to fight about. However, if you have something more, you need to talk to a probate lawyer in Staten Island to help you consider the issues and come up with an estate plan.
With real estate and other complex asset categories, then the plan becomes a little bit more complex, needing more time and money.
Working with a Probate Lawyer in Staten Island
Before you decide not to hire us, try and answer the following questions:
Do You Have the Time and Resources to Represent Yourself in Staten Island Probate
The law in the borough is complex and needs a lot of work to prepare the case and go to court. This work needs time, money, and a lot of resources for the case to succeed. When you decide to go it alone, you will find the going tough, because you will have to do the work that is handled best by a probate lawyer Staten Island recommends, such as writing petitions that use legal references.
Note that if you are unsuccessful in the case, your time and labor will not be recoverable, especially if the court doesn’t award it to you. If you succeed (which is possible when you work with a probate lawyer in Staten Island), you may recover the costs from the estate.
The time it takes for the probate process varies depending on what you have to present to the court. When you have a probate lawyer to help you with the process, it becomes shorter; otherwise, you are looking at a year on the lower side to handle the case. When deciding to represent yourself, be sure to look at the impact this has on your family and work.
Will You Be Able to Handle Multiple Roles?
If you are party to a probate issue in a Staten Island court, then your involvement falls into the following categories:
- You have made an application in court.
- You are an executor.
- You are responding to an application in court.
Either way, you are likely to be dealing with a stressful situation. This situation can also affect your emotional state. Deciding to go at it alone also means that you will be taking on the role of a Staten Island probate lawyer.
As lawyers, we do some of the things on your behalf that aren’t so simple. We have the skills and experience to handle such issues, which means that we can do any of the following as the probate process progresses:
- Negotiate with other parties on the dispute.
- Notify other parties about any developments in the case.
- Respond to any issues that have been raised by the parties to the estate.
- Understand the merits of the issue and the possible outcomes.
As you can see, going at it alone exposes you to so many negative outcomes during the probate period.
How We Come In
When you get yourself in a position where you need a probate lawyer, we are here to handle the work for you.
There are complicated laws that apply to probate in Staten Island. As an average layperson, you cannot understand the legal complexities that come with many of the laws and how to apply them to your situation.
We are a firm comprising experienced lawyers that bring to your case decades of experience handling probate issues. To kickstart the process, you first need to file for probate in the court.
The process for filing a petition in the county included filing several documents. Some of the documents are complicated if you don’t know some legal jargon. Remember that you might fill the forms on your, but with mistakes, the court staff might not have the time to fill them out correctly. The only remedy is to work with only with a top probate lawyer Staten Island has to help you fill them out.
Most will go through without any contests. However, some cases make the beneficiaries to bring up a case against the will, especially when the testator didn’t take time to come up with an astute estate plan.
When you are faced with a will contest, you are looking at legal proceedings that will last for years. When you lose a loved one, talk to a probate lawyer in Staten Island about protecting your rights as one of the beneficiaries. We bring to the table years of solid legal experience, allowing us to work to protect your rights to the estate.
The will is contested when the beneficiaries believe that it doesn’t represent the decedent’s wishes. However, this is usually a long and complicated process and comes with a high risk of emotional breakdown. It is highly likely that the process will leave you emotionally drained and traumatized. Therefore, you must speak to a probate lawyer in Staten Island about your eligibility to contest this will.
We will let you know about any alternatives you have to the will contest before you proceed.
You can only contest the will if you fall in any of the following categories:
- You are a beneficiary of the will.
- You have the potential to be an heir of the estate.
To contest the will, you have to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the testator wasn’t in their right mind when preparing the will, or that it has some errors that make it invalid.
However, remember that the other beneficiaries might oppose the contest, which means you need to have a probate lawyer in Staten Island who understands wills and probates to help you out.
Establishing Connections with Other Beneficiaries
The Staten Island probate process at times can include beneficiaries that the testator had excluded from the will. When this happens, the executor needs to establish a transparent connection with the other beneficiaries in the estate. Contact us to do so safely and legally.
Calming Down Insignificant Matters Fast
Where the estate involves more than one party, the potential for conflicts is common. As your Staten Island probate lawyer, we can settle down the differences without having to work with the court. If, unfortunately, the matter goes to court, then you have an experienced lawyer all ready to assist you.
Making It Work
Now that we have a working relationship with you, there are a few things you need to do so that we work best for you.
Agree Upon Probate Goals
At the start of our relationship, you need to talk clearly with us about the issue at hand and what we can do for you. We take time to review the options with you and then decide whether we can help you or not. We shall decide on which services we can provide for you.
To make things easier, we shall give you a written agreement that outlines the scope of representation.
We respect your goal, even if it includes whether to settle the case out of court or take it through the process.
Maintain Consistent Communication
We shall settle on how to communicate to you, and how frequently you wish to hear from us. We shall give you the names of the other people in the law firm that will handle a certain part of the case, for instance, financial aspects of the case.
You need to be reasonable regarding the times you need to communicate with us. Most legal matters have times when there is a lull, and there is no activity, while other times are busy. When there is little or no activity, it is unreasonable for you to expect calls from the lawyer.
If the case is busy, then we shall communicate. Understanding this aspect is a good way to foster a good relationship with you.
Keeping Perfect Records
You need to ensure that you come with a list of all the contacts to the first meeting, complete with dates and times. Feel free to request legal records from the lawyer so that you keep yourself updated at all times. We shall send copies of certificates and letters that have been sent or received on your behalf.
Why Choose Us?
When you lose a loved one, dealing with their funeral preparations may be overwhelming. This period is often difficult, and it is your last wish to engage in activities that would cause you more pain. The last thing on your mind is always the material things left by the decedent. That is why you need to work closely with a competent probate lawyer Staten Island offers to assist with any legal processes.
There are several benefits of working with us during such a difficult period. We help you handle all the probate details for you, giving you enough time to plan the funeral of your loved one.
There are various reasons why you should consider our services. Let us highlight some of them.
Our Processes Ensure Minimal Family Conflicts
Upon death, a loved one may leave behind several assets whose beneficiaries are either known or unknown. Some family members may decide to dispute the inheritance guidelines indicated in the will.
This is a common occurrence, especially where divorced spouses or stepchildren are involved. If any of them thinks they are entitled to a share of the decedent’s estate, they will often contest the will.
Through working with us, you will receive adequate support to ensure that any loopholes that may lead to conflict are eliminated. Our team of legal professions can assist you in drafting a valid will that is free from ambiguities. This can help minimize any conflicts that may arise in the event of death.
We also help you in handling any disputes that are already filed in court. We aim to ensure that the terms of the will are considered accordingly.
We help you Complete the Staten Island Probate Process Faster
Legal issues around inheritance can drag for months or years; depending on how prepared you are to handle them. When it comes to the probate process, you need an attorney with the right kind of experience handling similar matters.
That is why you should work with us. We have knowledgeable legal experts that are familiar with the entire probate process. We speed up every step of the process since we are aware of each of these steps’ requirements.
We have a Track Record of Contesting Legal Claims
Legal claims against your loved one’s estate may occur when you least expect them. These can be filed by the decedent’s creditors or any other party interested in the estate. In case such claims go through successfully, your loved ones may not be able to receive their share of your assets.
Working with us grants you the opportunity to protect your inheritance from such claims. We ensure that your will is shielded from any unwanted legal contests. We do this by providing you with the right counsel when drafting your will.
We are good at providing Case-specific Guidance
The probate process for some estates may be quite complex. This is mostly true with large estates that feature overseas assets. Even when you feel you are better placed to handle such probate proceedings, it may get overwhelming without a legal professional’s assistance.
For a long time now, we have been going the extra mile to offer our clients more specific insights into their probate cases. We always point out any legal issues that you may have left out and ensured that these are handled professionally.
As a firm, we continuously provide you with timely advice on the small details such as payment of legal fees, settling of debts, paying tax and any other matters that are easy to forget. In case you have a question or concern about any of these issues, we provide you with the right information that can assist you in making the right decisions.
We get it Right the First Time
One of the biggest benefits of working with us is the guarantee of getting results the first time around. We save you from the headache of having to revise the legal documents associated with probate several times for them to be accepted by the court.
Through getting things right at the first attempt, we save your family a lot of time and heartache involved in carrying out probate. Without us, there is no guarantee that this will happen.
We Assist You Make the Right Alterations to Legal Documents
In case you are a beneficiary of an estate you are no longer interested in, our team can help you alter the decedent’s will accordingly. Remember, you can only do this in a court of law.
We help you handle the complexities associated with the alteration procedure. We also provide you with the necessary guidance in handling any disagreements that may arise due to these alterations. Our team is passionate about setting the right course of action for all manner of court proceedings associated with such matters.
We Offer expert Financial Advice
When dealing with a probate case, you may be faced with many debts that need to be cleared before the end of the case. If you do not handle your properties well, even after the case is over, you may always find yourself paying a lot in tax.
We help you establish the best financial options during the probate period. Our advisors will patiently outline these options, and you can use them to avoid paying more taxes than you should.
We relieve you of the stress involved in making some of the tough financial decisions. We lift this burden off your shoulders, giving you ample time to adjust to any new transitions associated with losing a loved one.
With patience and passion, we address any of your concerns and guide you into making smart decisions regarding the probate process. You are better placed when working with us because we have a history of handling simple and complex probate cases.
We also have an extensive collection of information and other resources required for most probate cases. We understand that at the end of the day, our client’s satisfaction is what counts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, when you serve as an executor, you get paid an amount called a commission, which is to pay for your time and services. Additionally, during your work as an executor, you end up spending money on the expenses incurred as you run the services. If you have been identified as an executor and you are also an interested party in the estate, then you will receive an inheritance as well as additional money as allowed by the clauses of the will.
You have many ways to preserve the estate assets. You can work with us to:
- Determine if the administration expenses need to be reported on the income tax return or estate tax return.
- Consider whether there are any income saving opportunities on the assets of the decedent.
- Determine whether the assets need to be valued at the date of the decedent’s death or do it six months later.
Contesting a will is a legal action that will challenge the validity of the will or the terms in the will. The will can be considered invalid if it is the result of forgery, undue influence, incapacitation or other issues. Additionally, a will that has been proven to be the latest will make an earlier version invalid.
The Staten Island probate process can drag on and on without a resolution in sight. In addition, it can be too expensive in the long run. This is why it is wise for you to try and prevent the estate from going to probate when you pass away, and to try and reduce the duration of probate and the expenses.
The county in which the decedent took up permanent residence is where the probate process will occur. If the decedent owned real estate in another county, however, the laws of the state in which the county stands will determine who is entitled to the land.