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Probate Lawyer Suffolk County New York

You might have an idea of how you want your assets to be transferred to your loved ones one day, but sadly, your plan might crumble the day you pass away. A plan might look good on paper, but when the time comes to pass on your estate, your beneficiaries end up in probate court.

Wills are crucial documents that detail the wishes of how your assets must be distributed when you die. The document you come up with should include all the necessary details, otherwise, they can be deemed invalid and lead to protracted court battles.

If you have any problem drafting your will, you can talk to a probate lawyer Suffolk county to help you do it the right way. Remember that when you are gone, it is your family to suffer, and they are at the mercy of the probate court.

When you pass on without a will, it is termed that you passed on “intestate” and it is upon the courts in Suffolk County to decide how to distribute the estate the right way.  To make sure your family won’t have a problem even when they go to probate, you can work with a Suffolk county probate lawyer to help you create a solid will that will stand the test of the probate process.

When you are grieving for a loved one, the last things you would want to handle are legalities and paperwork. We have a capable team to help you through the process of coming up with court requirements and any legality that can come up.

We are located in central Suffolk County, which makes us an ideal location for the persons that reside outside New York yet have a property in the county. In this case, we can handle the tasks of moving a will through the probate process for non-residents as well.

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“The average estate paid $12k on accounting and legal fees, but this depends on the professionalism, as well as the size of the estate.”

Marianna Schwartsman

Understanding Probate

When an individual dies, he leaves property behind; this can be substantial of just a few assets. Many times the individual leaves behind a last will and testimony that shows how he wants the property to be dispersed. In many cases, the estates don’t get through probate, but in other instances, they have to be probated. Probate is a procedure whereby the court oversees the administration of the last testament of the testator.

Probate aims at making sure the possessions of the decedent are distributed according to the law. Additionally, those that dispute the validity of the will have a chance to do this in front of a judge.

Probate can take anywhere from six months to several years. The duration depends on the size and complexity of the estate that is under probate. If the will gets contested, you need to expect the process to take longer than is necessary. Without any contests, the process takes a very short time.

In as much as the process takes longer and is expensive, it comes with a few benefits. First, the judges are impartial and will rule as per the law. The hearing is also available to all parties that wish to contest the will or distribute the possessions.

The process starts when the executor presents the will to the court. The court takes a few steps to make sure the will is valid or not. Once validity is verified, the will becomes a public record for everyone to read. If the will didn’t name an executor, the court takes the chance to name someone to act as one.

Our Practice Areas (Probate)

Here are a few practice areas under probate that we deal with.

Helping You Come Up With Probate Avoidance Strategies

Probate isn’t an easy task to deal with. It involves a lot of expenses and time and other resources as well. Avoiding the process altogether is a good way to give your family peace when you are gone. We work with you to come up with the best option to minimize the risks of probate on your estate. To start the process, search local directories for the best “probate lawyer near me” and you will get one to assist you.

Some of the options you have include transferring the property to a beneficiary when you are still alive. We have various options for dealing with probate, and we explain all of them to you so that you choose the best that suits your situation. Call us today to know what options can work for you.

Handling Intestacy Situations

If you pass away without a will in Suffolk County, the assets will be distributed as per the New York law of intestate succession. The law has determined what is supposed to be a fair distribution of the assets to the rightful heirs, the definition of “fair” might not be what you know, which means that you might have doubts. When in doubt, consult with a probate lawyer in Suffolk County to ensure the assets are distributed according to your wishes.

When there is no will, there are some properties that will still pass to the designated heir without the need to go through probate. These include:

  • Jointly owner assets with a right of survivorship.
  • Financial accounts that have transfer-on-death provisions.

These assets aren’t part of the decedent’s probate assets, and they aren’t subject to the probate process.

Without a will, conflicts are rife especially on who is to get what. To avoid litigation issues, the probate court has laws that dictate how the process needs to be distributed.

When the decedent left a surviving spouse, then the intestacy laws state that:

  • She gets all the property if there are no kids.
  • The first $60,000 p; us half the remainder if there are kids.

The laws can be confusing, which is why you need help from the best probate lawyer Suffolk County can offer. We also assist people from other counties that need legal assistance in the County.

Helping Transfer Real Estate Probate in Suffolk County

When a will in Suffolk County leaves real estate properties to their beneficiaries, it is vital to engage the help of a probate lawyer in Suffolk County. You need to understand that real estate probate matters involve multiple parties, including title insurers and creditors, and the legal process must be able to satisfy each party.

Probate is still necessary to transfer real estate to the beneficiaries. However, if the ownership deed indicates that the property is owned jointly with rights of survivorship, then probate isn’t necessary for this instance.

What if you are a non-resident who owns real-estate property in the County? Well, in this situation, ancillary probate must be initiated in the county. This operates simultaneously with the probate process in the decedent’s state of residency.

You have two alternatives when it comes to ancillary proceedings in Suffolk County. First, if you as an executor have completed probate in another jurisdiction, and the only asset remaining is the real estate located in Suffolk County, then it might be transferred without any formal administration.

We have a wide range of probate affairs for our clients, both within the county and out of the county.

Handling Will Contests in Suffolk County

Most valid will go through probate without any contests. However, a simple will might face hundreds of claims on it, making the probate process longer and expensive than it ought to be.

Challenging a will requires you to prove grounds that make the will seem invalid, therefore not admissible to court. When you work with us, we can help you to explore the grounds of initiating a will contest or defending yourself against one.

The main reasons for challenging a will during probate include:

  • Failure to follow formalities. For a will to be executed properly, it must be signed by the will-maker as well as two witnesses that were present when the testator executed the will. As a petitioner, you can contest the will because it wasn’t properly drafted and signed according to Suffolk County law.
  • Lack of testamentary capacity by the testator. Suffolk County law requires that the person drafting a will needs to have the right mental capacity to draft it and recognize the scope of his assets. He must have the capacity to know who is to receive the assets and why he has given some assets to retain people.
  • Undue influence on the testator. Another ground for challenging a will is that the testator was pressured into signing the will. Undue influence can be a huge reason to declare the will invalid.
  • Fraud. A will is regarded to be void if it was created and executed via fraudulent means. Fraud can come in various forms. First, one of the parties convinced the testator that the document he was signing was something other than a will. Secondly, the party that committed the fraud misled the testator to make a different distribution of property than was to be made.
  • Duress. This is where someone threatens the testator to sign the will.

While this is ideal for contesting the will, the law in Suffolk County doesn’t allow for much time to contest it. This is why you need an experienced Suffolk county probate lawyer that understands the procedures to guide you on what to do and how to do it. If you are out of the county, we can petition the court on your behalf.

How to Get the Best Outcome Out of Us

So, now that you have taken the time to know what probate is all about and you know your role let us see tips that will help us work better with you.

  • Collect information early enough. When we work with you, we want you to bring all the information that is relevant to the process. We don’t expect you to give us half-truths without any evidence. If you are sure there is a document somewhere, give us all the information that will allow us to get it, as long as it is important to the case.
  • The earlier we start the better. Well, when we begin the process of representing you, we want to have enough time to perform due research and collect the evidence necessary. When you start the process early, it makes sense because then we shall have enough time to run the research. Preparation is key in any case, and probate is like any case out there.
  • Communication is key. In case you notice any development in the case, it is wise for you to communicate with us, fast. Don’t wait till the information is obsolete before you tell us.

Why Choose Us?

When the probate court appoints you as a personal representative of a loved one’s estate, you might get confused at the many responsibilities on your plate. Things may get tougher if you do not understand how to carry out these responsibilities. This is one reason why you need the services of a probate lawyer Suffolk County.

We work with individuals, personal representatives as well as executors of estates to ensure that the conditions outlined in the will by a testator are met. If you are this kind of person, you may consider hiring us to ensure that you successfully protect the interests of the estate.

We understand the implications of not meeting your obligations as an executor or personal representative. Our role is to ensure that you do not get into trouble by failing in your responsibilities.

Our law firm has served several clients before. Most of them keep coming back to us each time they need assistance with probate cases. A good number of them also refer their friends and relatives to us because of the quality of our services.

You may be wondering why you should consider working with us. Besides helping you resolve the legal nightmare associated with probate, our practice stand out from the rest of the law firms in the following ways:

Offering Competent Counsel for Your Issues

Probate is a complicated and draining process, especially when you are dealing with the loss of a person close to you. Don’t try to do everything on your own during this time because it might end up in shambles. We are ready to ensure the probate administration process is completed on time and appropriately. We also protect you from making huge mistakes that can cost you, your share of the estate, and the beneficiaries.

We Give You a Reason to Start

Well, many people keep on postponing the probate process, and before they know it the time that was offered has elapsed. Doing things on time is a good way to make sure you are one step ahead of other parties. As time goes by, taxes pile up, creditors become more insistent, and beneficiaries also become more impatient.

You need to work with a qualified “probate lawyer near me” because once you become an executor, certain timelines come into effect. Otherwise, you will stand the wrath of the interested parties.

We Help You Communicate

Nothing can make life harder than a lack of communication between you and the beneficiaries. As an executor, you must make sure that the beneficiaries are updated during the probate period. However, there are times when you are too busy to keep them updated, which make it hard for them to understand what is happening.

This is why you need to retain our services because we can act as the conduit of information to the beneficiaries as well as creditors.

We Fully Understand Your Needs

Every client is special to us. We always seek to understand your needs and the needs of your estate. By doing this, we provide the right solutions at each step of the probate process.

We value your time and have customized our options to ensure that your case does not go on for long. Our probate lawyer in Suffolk County is able to pinpoint any mistakes in the paperwork and other court-related matters in good time. Having everything done the right way eliminates any form of delay in the probate process.

Our main concentration is in protecting the estate from third parties. We do not take any step of the Suffolk County probate process lightly.

Besides seeking to understand your needs, we also ensure that all the individuals involved in the case understand what is expected of them. We spend time with the executor or personal representative to make sure that they understand what needs to be done. We walk them through the legal procedures involved in probate and make them understand the steps that must be taken.

Our Process Preserves the Value of Your Estate

We have a history of protecting client assets against all legal claims. Your obligation as a beneficiary or executor of an estate is to preserve its value. Without the right strategies, it can be impossible for you to achieve this.

Legal claims happen too often. It is impossible to avoid them. We are better equipped to provide you with guidelines that can help you differentiate between assets that are likely to appreciate and those that may depreciate.

For those assets that may attract legal claims, we provide you with the right assistance to protect such assets until the wishes of the decedent are fulfilled.

Our firm stands out when it comes to contesting any legal claims. We have a reputation for helping several individuals win such contests without engaging in unnecessary back and forth.

We Make the Process Seamless

Once you hire us, we follow up with the relevant parties from the initial stages of appointing a personal representative for the probate case to the final stage. We work with the court to ensure that you present what is required on time, and these are processed seamlessly.

Our probate lawyer in Suffolk County is dedicated to ensuring that all your probate issues get handled accordingly. We make things easy for you and your loved ones by guiding you through responsibilities such as verifying claims, preparing the right paperwork, and ensuring that all supporting documents are valid.

In case you are working with someone who doesn’t have the requisite experience in handling probate, we assist the person in reducing the impact of any obstacles and mistakes they may encounter along the way.

We are good at Responding to Your Questions

One of our strengths is that we do not leave any of your questions unanswered. We do not take chances with our clients. We take pride in helping you achieve your goals by providing adequate guidance.

However complex the case of your estate may be, we do not give up until we provide the right answers and alleviate any existing confusion. We also inform you of what you should expect from the process, preparing you for the possible outcome early enough.

We Participate Accordingly

We do not work as an independent component of your case. Instead, we prefer forming a team with yourself and any other individuals working on the case. If you allow us, we can help you list and locate the assets of the decedent.

We also assist you in tracing any bank accounts, stock as well as real estate property that were owned by your loved one. Although this sounds like a great responsibility that will cost you a lot, you do not need to worry about the expenses involved since you can always pay us from the proceeds obtained from these assets.

Our Team Comprises of the Best Lawyers

We work with a team of experts who are specially trained to handle probate matters. Besides offering you the right kind of technical knowledge, our experts are also friendly and ensure they handle you in a friendly and respectful way.

We dedicate our time to protect your interests and assure you that all the information you share with us remains confidential. Our team has also been coached to provide timely feedback to all our clients.

We do not push you to provide us with any information that you consider personal. We organize meetings with you and keep you updated on the progress of your probate case as soon as we receive it from the court. The focus of all our team members is to make you and your family happy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

There are several strategies that you can employ to minimize inheritance tax significantly. You can transfer your properties to a trust, or give them to the intended beneficiaries as gifts. 

Before using any of these strategies, make sure that you consult the best probate lawyer Suffolk County has to understand their advantages and disadvantages.

After the death of a loved one, the probate court names an executor and gives them the responsibility of administering the estate. The executor needs to obtain a grant of probate before performing any actions on the estate.

In the case of joint ownership, there is no need to obtain the grant. The surviving owner is free to do anything with the estate so long as they meet other statutory requirements such as tax.

You can only contest a will if you have the legal ground to do so. A Suffolk County probate attorney can help you establish the validity of your contest.

If you believe that you have a strong case, you can issue the probate court with a caveat, which prevents it from issuing the grant of probate until the contest is over. In case the grant has already been given to the executor, you can file an inheritance claim against the estate before the end of six months.

Different states have different procedures when it comes to probate. The time taken for your probate process to complete in Suffolk County will depend on several factors. Some of these include:

  • How soon you present the necessary paperwork to the probate court
  • The duration taken by creditors to file their claims
  • Time taken by the executor to settle debts and carry out a valuation of the estate

If a decedent left behind a will, the named executor will be responsible for carrying out estate-related activities on behalf of the beneficiaries. The executor can only do this according to the procedures and rules of the probate court.

In case there is no will, the court appoints an executor to manage the affairs of the estate until a suitable beneficiary is named.

A probate lawyer Suffolk County can help you come up with a lasting power of attorney, which allows someone else to manage the affairs of your estate when you can no longer do it on your own.

You can use a power of attorney to outline the important decisions to be made, then appoint the right person to make them on your behalf. If you do not have a close relative to do this, you can grant the powers to a trustworthy attorney.

It is advisable that you only grant a power of attorney to someone who has your best interests at heart to ensure that you do not lose your properties in the process.

Ask those that have given us a try, and you will get positive responses and smiles all over. Try us too, and see what difference we bring to your probate journey.