Expect at least six months to pass before the assets are distributed to the heirs and the estate is closed. However, a year is a more likely time frame for most properties. This period can be further extended if there are delays, such as an heir challenging the will or disputes with creditors. When a person dies, who inherits depends on whether there is a will and who the living relatives are and their relationship to the person who died.
When the person who died (the deceased) had a will, then the will must be filed with the Surrogacy Court and admitted (approved) for legalization. Probate is the process of proving that the will is valid (legally acceptable). During the succession, the will must be proven to the satisfaction of the Court that it is the Last Will and Testament of the person who died. Once the Judge in Surrogacy Court, who is called the Surrogate, is satisfied that the will is legally acceptable, the executor named in the will is appointed to deliver the inheritance (everything of value) that belonged to the person who died and fulfill the wishes of the person who died.
The Surrogacy Court oversees this process. The time required to complete the probate process varies widely. If all heirs can be located, the will is not contested, no appraisals are needed, and debts are easily resolved, probate can be completed in three to six months. In more complex cases, especially those involving a contested will, legalization can take years to complete.
The probate process is only necessary when a person has died and has left probate assets. Probate assets are defined in the next section. Therefore, when there are no probate assets, or when there are no assets, then there is no need to legalize. For example, if Aunt Betty died and she had will and payee designations in all of her accounts, then there is no need to legalize because beneficiary designations override the terms of the will and will serve as the mechanism by which all assets are distributed.
Heirs and family members often wonder how long the formal probate process lasts and how the process works. On average, the time it takes to administer a New York testamentary estate is around 7 to 9 months. The law does not have a set deadline for filing legalization after death. But you'll want to file legalization as soon as possible, as the process can take several months to a year.
At a minimum, you must wait 7 months from the date of your court appointment before closing the estate. That is the deadline for any unknown creditor to file their claims against the inheritance. If the will is challenged, a probate attorney with experience in probate litigation and New York State rules of civil practice can work with the executor to resolve the matter. In most cases, you only need an estate when there are assets that need a court order to be transferred.
A number of estate planning tools can remove assets from estate so that they are not subject to this process. In some cases, you may need to request an estate to validate the will and begin liquidating the estate. In addition, it is especially recommended that a person hire an estate attorney when they expect someone to be challenging the legalization of the deceased's will. Fortunately, New York has simplified probate procedures for estates that fall below a certain value threshold.
The petitioner must notify the decedent's next of kin and the beneficiaries of the decedent's will of the probate procedure. Estate settlement (also known as estate administration) is the phase during which you, as the court-appointed executor, must collect estate assets, organize and pay debts, and file all final taxes. In addition, if the deceased had real estate and a will, the heirs will have to request an inheritance procedure. Because the probate process is time-consuming and involves a lot of paperwork, people generally hire lawyers to help them with probate proceedings.
Unless there is an ongoing litigation or other delays in the sale of real estate or personal property, the assets must be distributed to the beneficiaries of the deceased and the petition to remove the personal representative and liquidate the estate must be filed with the Court. In some states, there is a time limit for requesting probate (for example, filing of all necessary documents must begin ten days after the date of death). Another popular tool to avoid legalizing titled assets (such as real estate) involves tipping those assets into a joint lease with the right to survive, or a lease in its entirety (only available to a married couple). .