What does it mean to “Probate a Will” ?

This is a  common question asked by clients.  “Probate” is the process by which the court, which in New York State is called the Surrogate’s Court, determines whether or not a document is a valid Last Will and Testament  of a deceased person.  If the Surrogate’s Court determines that the document submitted is a valid will, the court will issue a document called “Letters Testamentary” officially appointing the person nominated as Executor in the will.  The Executor can then collect assets of the decedent, pay bills and distribute assets to the will’s beneficiaries.

Usually probate is a fairly straight forward procedure. Upon a person’s death, the will, a death certificate, the probate petition and related affidavits and consents are filed with the Surrogate’s Court.  If the court determines the will has been properly executed, necessary consents have been obtained and the petition has been properly completed, the will will be admitted to probate and Letters Testamentary will be issued, usually,  within one month.

What then can cause complications and delay?  That’s the subject of my next post, so stay tuned…..

About George H. Dippel, Attorney at Law

George H. Dippel has been practicing law for over 30 years. He is a graduate of Cornell Law School and a former partner at the law firm of Rivkin Radler in their real estate/banking department. Mr. Dippel opened his own law offices in 1993 in Bayside, Queens, New York. Mr. Dippel has assisted thousands of clients throughout Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester with their wills, probate, trusts, real estate and business matters. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Dippel has taught real estate courses in Long Island University’s paralegal program. He is also a licensed real estate instructor and has taught real estate licensing courses in the New York Metropolitan area. Mr. Dippel is admitted to practice in all New York State Courts and the Federal Eastern and Southern District Courts.
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One Response to What does it mean to “Probate a Will” ?

  1. Pingback: Does my will have to be notarized to be valid in New York? - DippelLaw New York Law Blog

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