4 Steps of the Probate Process


Probate is the court-supervised process of providing a Surrogate’s court with evidence to uphold the validity of the deceased person’s will. The court oversees the process in which the deceased person’s property gets distributed. In the State of New York, probate typically takes around fifteen months depending on the legal circumstances.

Identifying The Property

The Surrogate’s court will go through the deceased person’s will. Based on the will, the court will identify any property owned as well as its estimated value.

Identifying The Proper Heirs

The beneficiaries stated in the will are notified of the court hearing. Their attendance is highly encouraged.

Pay Any Outstanding Debts or Taxes

Any outstanding debts or taxes held by the deceased person must be paid off to the proper recipient. These debts may include student loans, deductible, non-deductibles, interest rate debt, legal fees, accounting fees, insurance premiums, utilities, mortgage payments, and others.

Distribute Property To Heirs

After all debts are paid, any remaining property is distributed to all designated heirs. Before the property can be distributed, however, there are a few steps the principal must take to ensure that all assets are transferred free from any legal obstacles: 1) The executor must mail a notice to all beneficiaries that the final hearing is coming up as well as file proof of notice, and 2) They must get the courts permission to distribute the property.  Additionally, once all assets have been properly distributed along with the necessary paperwork, the executor must file all receipts and request to be released from his duties by the court.

Going through probate can be an expensive, complicated and time-consuming process. Your best bet at tackling it is to consult with a licensed estate planning attorney who can guide you through the rough waters of going through probate and making sure that your assets end up in the right hands.