Estates (Probate & Administration)

The loss of a loved one, close friend or family member is trying, to say the least. Often mixed with the need or desire to grieve are the responsibilities of bringing personal and financial matters to a close.

In our opinion, one can’t truly come to closure until the personal and business affairs wrap up. Thus, we aim to assist our client(s) in bringing about a swift resolution.

Estates take different forms. They consist of the property left in a decedent’s name alone. Not jointly owned property or subject to a beneficiary designation. Nor is it property “in trust for” (ITF) another, subject to a “transfer on death” (TOD) or “payable on death” (POD) designation, or held in trust (revocable or irrevocable).

Typically, we find estates made up of real estate combined with some aspects of personal property – cars, jewelry, etc. Of course, they can also include insurance paid to an estate. Retirement accounts paid to an estate on purpose or by default. Accounts originally held in trust for another, but the “other” predeceased the account owner. Joint accounts where the surviving owned passed away. And, the list continues.

How long does it take to settle an estate?

It depends.

One factor is the amount and type of assets. Another is the procedure requirements. New York, unlike other states, still requires a family tree and service of notice upon next-of-kin, even if they’re not receiving anything from the estate. The latter often creates delay, unless the family members work together to move the estate along.

What does it cost?

Again, it depends.

We offer clients the ability to choose billing based on time, or a percentage of the estate. Billing based on a percentage typically follows those used to compensate a fiduciary.

How are fiduciaries compensated? In New York, an executor or administrator gets 5% of the first $100,000, 4% of the next $200,000 and so on. It’s set by statute. Yet that statute does carve out an exception to the payment of commissions if a will exists, and that will directs the disposition of certain assets to a specific beneficiary.

What do I need to do to get started?

Contact us for a consultation. Then bring the following to that meeting:

  • Original will (if any)
  • Original death certificate
  • Paid funeral bill
  • Family tree information (spouse, children and parents to start)
  • Names and addresses of interested parties (beneficiaries named in the will or those that inherit according to law)
  • Names and addresses of spouse, children and parents, or even siblings who would’ve inherited if a will didn’t exist (assuming one does)