A valid will directs what happens to a person's property when that person dies. In New York, the Surrogate's Court grants Probate of a will. This is the legal process of proving a will is valid. After the will is probated the administration of the deceased’s estate occurs. During the administration process the deceased person’s creditors and estate administration expenses are paid through estate settlement and any remaining assets go to the deceased’s beneficiaries. Depending on the complexity and nature of the estate, probate in New York can take anywhere between a few weeks and several months to conclude (or even years when a will is contested). The administration of an estate typically is about a year long process. Here is an approximate month by month breakdown of a basic New York estate administration timeline:
- The will of the deceased Is located, read, and a copy is distributed to the beneficiaries.
- The executor of the estate is determined. Typically, the will states the name of the executor and instructions for how the assets of the deceased should be distributed.
- Acquisition of death certificate according to New York law.
- The executor files a probate petition along with the original will, certified death certificate, and other required documents as required by the state of New York. The probate petition should be filed in the county where the deceased lived and had their primary residence.
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for the estate
Generally, during months 3 thru 6 the executor of the estate must handle details like notifying banks and government agencies of the deceased’s death and filing the final income tax returns. Responsibilities of the executor during this time may include:
- Locating and taking inventory of all valuables, personal property, and other assets.
- Provide notification to all creditors, per each creditor’s requirements, of the deceased’s death.
- Notify banks and government agencies of the deceased’s death and file the final income tax returns.
- Have the estate and assets appraised.
- The executor of the estate determines which property should be sold and how assets will be distributed among beneficiaries.
- Obtain Releases of Liens on Real Property
Month 7 - 9
- Finish outstanding negotiations with creditors and close out any creditor claims.
- Pay any outstanding tax bills.
- Prepare a preliminary final accounting.
- Finish sale of estate assets
- File required Inventory of Assets with the Court
Month 9 - 12
- Prepare and distribute a final accounting to the beneficiaries of the estate.
- The assets of the estate are distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with the will.
- The executor files a petition to be discharged as the executor and to the close the estate.
- File all required closing documents with the court.
- File all required income tax returns for both the deceased individual as well as for the estate.
- File any required Estate Tax Returns
Parisi, Coan, and Saccocio, PLLC has over 65 years combined experience in estate planning, administration of client’s wishes after passing, and representing litigants in cases of disputed estate matters. If you have been appointed as the Executor or the Administrator of an estate or have questions about the probate process, please contact us for a free consultation at at (914) 228-7448.