Some of the basic tasks of a Long Island Estate executor or administrator are: collecting estate assets, reviewing and paying the decedent’s debts, paying estate and income taxes, settling disputes among beneficiaries, heirs or others, and ultimately distributing the assets to the beneficiaries so that they estate can be wound up in a timely and efficient manner. All this needs to be done in compliance with the New York Estates Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) and Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA). There are also emotional and time aspects.
If you are an executor or beneficiary of a Long Island decedent’s estate, it will help you to know that probate only involves assets that were held in the decedent’s sole name at the time of the decedent’s death are subject to a probate proceeding. Joint assets, assets with named beneficiaries or assets placed in a trust can be distributed without the court’s involvement (although taxes still need to be paid on some of those assets). Those assets are transferred to beneficiaries depending on the type of account and asset.
To initiate a probate proceeding with the Suffolk or Nassau County Surrogate’s Court, the decedent’s original will needs to be filed with the Court. If the executor or other family members cannot locate the will, then the estate could be subject to Long Island intestacy laws. Typically, family members close to the decedent are helpful in determining whether the decedent had a will at the time of the decedent’s death and locating it. Another place to check to find the will be the decedent’s safe deposit box or with the decedent’s attorney.
Family members and executors typically hire a Long Island probate and estate attorney to assist with the administration of the estate, especially with regard to court hearings, filing legal documents and tax matters. There are many aspects of a New York probate, and unexpected issues such as will contests of other litigation matters may come up that the average person is not able to handle. Having proper legal representation is necessary because legal issues are complex. If you wish to speak to a Long Island probate and estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (212) 233-1233.