Estate planning is an important thing to address. Everyone has possessions and assets that deserve to go to the right people or organizations. Deciding what will happen to your home, your financial assets, and your personal possessions after your passing can be a difficult process and an uncomfortable discussion. However, if you don’t take the time to make these decisions now, a court may end up dividing your property for you if you pass without an estate plan. Instead of leaving such important decisions to the courts, get the assistance you need to make wise decisions concerning your estate. Contact a seasoned Rockland County estate planning attorney from The Lauterbach Law Firm today.
Estate Planning Attorney | Serving Clients in Rockland County and Across NYS
Here at the Lauterbach Law Firm, we understand the importance of having a comprehensive, legally enforceable estate plan. Whether you’re looking to ensure your assets are passed down according to your wishes or need assistance taking your loved one’s estate through the probate process, you can turn to us for help.
Our Estate Planning Services
The Lauterbach Law Firm is dedicated to helping you through every step of estate planning, administration, and litigation. With over 20 years of experience helping clients in all facets of wills, trusts, and estate matters, The Lauterbach Law Firm stands ready to help you as well. Our legal services include, but are not limited to:
- Wills: Everyone should write a will, regardless of age or financial standing. This is the primary means by which you’ll dictate how your assets will be passed down to beneficiaries after your passing.
- Trusts: There are several reasons why you should consider creating one or more trusts, including tax benefits and potentially avoiding probate.
- Advance Directives: By creating an advance directive, you can clarify the type of life-sustaining care you’d like to receive. This ensures your wishes are recognized and can give your loved ones peace of mind.
- Powers of Attorney: When a person creates a power of attorney, they appoint an agent to make certain medical or financial decisions on their behalf, should they become unable to do so on their own.
- Estate Administration: The process of administering an estate can be lengthy and complex, and you shouldn’t go through it without a competent estate lawyer in your corner.
- Estate Litigation: Sometimes, conflict arises during estate administration or probate, such as disputes over whether a will is invalid. If you’re facing such a dispute, you need a team that can effectively fight for your interests and ensure your loved one’s wishes are recognized.
The Probate Process in New York
The probate process can be complicated, which is why it’s always best to face it only with a competent estate planning attorney in your corner. A brief outline of probate in New York State is as follows:
- Initiation: When a New York resident passes away with a will, the probate process begins by submitting the will and a petition for probate to the Surrogate’s Court in the county where the deceased lived. Without a will, the process follows similar lines, termed “administration.”
- Validating the Will: Before assets are distributed, the Surrogate’s Court must validate the will to ensure its authenticity and that it adheres to New York’s legal standards.
- Appointment of Executor or Administrator: Once the will is validated, the court appoints an executor named in the will. If no executor is named or there’s no will, the court appoints an administrator. Their role? To collect, manage, and distribute the estate’s assets.
- Notification: Next, beneficiaries named in the will and potential heirs must be officially notified. This gives them an opportunity to raise any concerns or objections.
- Taking Inventory: The executor or administrator then collects and inventories the deceased’s assets. This includes bank accounts, real estate, personal belongings, and more.
- Settling Debts and Expenses: Before distributing assets, the executor must settle any debts, bills, taxes, or final expenses the deceased may have left behind.
- Distribution: After debts are cleared, assets are then distributed according to the will’s directives. If there’s no will, New York’s intestacy laws govern the distribution.
- Finalizing the Process: With assets distributed and obligations met, the executor files a final report with the court. This report details all actions taken, assets managed, and distributions made. Upon the court’s review and approval, the probate process concludes.
Don’t face the probate process, or try and draft an estate plan, without a competent lawyer in your corner. The Lauterbach Law Firm is here to assist you, every step of the way.
Contact a New City Estate Planning Attorney Today
The Lauterbach Law Firm provides a comforting environment in which to discuss these matters and prepare for the future. these decisions should be in your control. Whether you are in need of a comprehensive estate plan or the support of a legal professional during or after probate, contact The Lauterbach Law Firm to discuss your legal situation.