After a will is probated in New York, the administration of the deceased’s estate occurs. Managing the estate’s probate and settlement process is the responsibility of the estate executor. Executor responsibilities include notifying banks and government agencies of the decedent’s death and filing the last income tax returns. When the estate administration process concludes, the executor is also responsible for collecting the estate’s property and distributing it. Since the court does not require an executor to retain the services of an attorney, some executors opt to manage this process on their own. However, here are 4 reasons why it is strongly recommended to always consult an experienced estate administration attorney.
1. It’s Complicated
Navigating the court system is a complicated and sometimes time-consuming process. Estate administration requires specific financial and legal knowledge, the ability to file the correct legal paperwork, and the ability to adhere to strict deadlines. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes, assist with the necessary paperwork and filing deadlines.
2. Someone Is Contesting The Will
The validity of a will can be questioned for multiple reasons. Sometimes there is a concern the deceased was taken advantage of in some manner when writing their will. Other times a family member will challenge a will because they feel cheated out of an inheritance. An experienced attorney may be able to help you avoid this costly and highly emotional complication.
3. A Business or Commercial Real Estate is Involved
When the estate contains a business, commercial real estate, foreign property, or foreign assets, an estate administration attorney should be consulted.
4. Too Much Debt
The executor of the estate is responsible for ensuring the deceased person’s creditors are paid through estate settlement and that any remaining assets go to the deceased’s beneficiaries. This is generally a straightforward process when the estate has enough money to do both. However, when an estate does not have enough money to pay debts and taxes, an attorney should be consulted.