When a decedent passes away and leaves a will, the person named as the executor of the decedent’s Long Island estate is usually responsible for making an inventory of all estate assets and liquidating any assets that the Long Island executor deems necessary to pay off estate debts. If the decedent died without a will, a Long Island administrator will need to be appointed by the Suffolk County or Nassau County Surrogate’s Court to manage the estate assets. An administrator performs the same functions as an executor.
While beneficiaries are not personally responsible for paying the decedent’s creditors, the liquidation of assets may reduce the amount of inheritance each beneficiary receives. Therefore, it is a good idea for the executor or administrator to communicate with the beneficiaries and heirs on a regular basis so that they are kept informed of all estate matters. This will help to avoid any disputes arising between the personal representative and the beneficiaries or heirs and help curtail disputes among heirs as well.
Hiring a Long Island probate and estate attorney is beneficial to everyone because an attorney can assist with the documents that need to be filed in Long Island Surrogate’s Court and with the procedure, and will guide the executor step-by-step in the liquidation and sale of assets, as well as recommend other professionals to help with the sale such as a real estate broker, appraiser or auction company. An attorney can also help the executor locate assets, prepare an inventory of assets and accountings and make sure the estate is in compliance with Long Island’s probate and estate laws as well as federal estate tax laws.
Since there are so many tasks that an executor must take on, the executor may not have time to handle all of them or just may not be qualified. Therefore, having a Long Island probate and estate attorney available to answer questions and handle legal and tax matters, takes some of the responsibility, liability and burden of the shoulders of the executor. Also, when the beneficiaries know that when an attorney is involved, they are more comfortable with their interests being protected as well.
When the claims and estate taxes have been paid out of the estate assets, and all of the relevant documents, waivers, and accountings submitted to the court, the executor can then distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the decedent’s wishes under the decedent’s will. Once the assets have been distributed, then the executor can start winding up and closing the estate.
If you wish to speak to a Long Island estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (212) 233-1233.