What happens when someone passes?Before we begin, it is highly advisable to contact an New York Estate Planning Lawyer as soon as someone passes away for estate purposes. When an individual passes away, two types of proceedings happen. If a will was set in place, probate proceedings occur. If no will was set in place, you enter into a process called estate administration. Either or, some common events transpire: creditors must put in a claim and be compensated for the debt owed, the property of the estate must be distributed to the heirs, and estate taxes must be paid if applicable. This entire process takes place in a specific court called Surrogate's Court.
When the individual passes away, he or she will have a representative representing their estate. If a will was in place, this representative will be called a executor. If no will was set in place the court will appoint what is called an estate administrator. They will typically go to Surrogate's Court and be requested to handle all debts of the estate including any tax liability from the federal and state level. Also, they will be asked to manage the property under the estate and distribute the said property either as stated within the will or through a court order. The court's only duty during this process is to supervise and provide approval of how the property within the estate is handled.
Be mindful that a NYC Estate Lawyer understands probate and estate administration very well. It would be wise to not handle this alone and instead contact them for their assistance.
The Probate ProcessThis is the time to call the CPA. Why? It's time for some accounting. The executor or the administrator has to make a listing of all property within the estate. They have to calculate what the value of the estate is. An inventory is made and as times a specialist may have to be appointed to provide an appraisal in order to estimate the value of some of the items or real property in the estate. A NY Estate Lawyer can make this process much easier. Once everything is accounted for, this information must the be filed with Surrogate's Court.
Once a proper accounting is done, it's time to pay some bills. The debt and taxes which were accrued by the decedent will have to be addressed. Afterwards, whatever is left over, the beneficiaries get their piece of the property. Keep in mind if no will is in place or it is ambiguous, be ready for long lost relatives to show up and contest the distributions. Make sure to hire yourself an estate litigation lawyer.