Probate Attorney in New York

As a top Probate lawyer in New York, attorney Inna Fershteyn handles all matters related to the probate and administration processes. Our office can help you with

  • Choosing the correct petition to file with the Surrogate’s Court
  • Preparing and filing the petition with the Surrogate’s Court
  • Full support with Executor/Administrator duties
  • Representation in will contest proceedings

The Purpose of Probate in New York

What is Probate

Probate is the legal process that takes place after the death of an individual to make sure that their assets are properly collected and distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries by the appointed executor. If the deceased left behind an estate plan, identifying their beneficiaries is as simple as reading the will; if not, their assets will be distributed according to New York’s intestate succession laws.

Hire the #1 rated probate attorney in New York, Inna Fershteyn. Set up your consultation today by calling (788) 333-2395.

What does it mean to probate a Will

To probate a Will means to first prove the validity of the Will, and then distribute the assets of the deceased to their designated beneficiaries.

Why probate is necessary in New York State

Probate is necessary in New York State to make sure that when the assets of the deceased are valued at over $30,000 (estates valued under $30,000 do not require probate) that they are distributed properly.

What types of assets are subject to probate

Most assets that are solely under the name of the decedent will usually have to go through probate. Financial accounts with designated beneficiaries, property held jointly with rights of survivorship, payable on death accounts as well as assets placed in a living trust do not need to be probated.

What a probate proceeding is

A probate proceeding takes place in Surrogate’s Court and involves the executor of the estate filing a petition that contains the date of death, estimates value of total assets, the beneficiaries of the estate, and the heirs-at-law in case that the court is unable to prove the validity of the will. Following, all beneficiaries or heirs according to intestate succession laws will be notified of their share of the estate’s assets.

When probate isn’t necessary in NY

Probate is not necessary when the total value of the estate is less than $30,000 or when the assets left behind by the decedent are non-probatable assets.

Set up your consultation today by calling our probate lawyer at (788) 333-2395.

Probate & Estate Administration Services

The Law Office of Inna Fershteyn specializes in all matters pertaining to estate planning including the drafting of Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills as well as NYC probate services and full assistance with the process of estate administration.

New York State Probate Process

How probate starts

The NY Probate Process begins with the filing of the original Will and a probate petition with the court. Once jurisdiction is complete and all issues are resolved the court issues a decree granting probate and issues Letters Testamentary to the Executor or Executors named in the Will. The Letters Testamentary gives the Executor the authority to administer the estate. Afterwards, the Executor will be responsible for identifying the decedent’s property, having the property appraised, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the property according to the will.

What happens in probate court

A probate court hearing will usually be scheduled within 5-6 weeks of the petition being filed. At the Initial Probate Court Hearing, a judge will make a decision on whether to grant an Order for Probate. Upon the case that the judge requests additional information, a continuance will be placed on the hearing to review the case again at another date. Once a judge signs and grants the Order for Probate, the County Clerk will issue the Letters of Administration, which establishes the timeline for the rest of the probate process.

How long the probate process takes

Assuming no one contests the will, the NY Probate Process will usually take one to three months to complete for a simple estate; more complex estates can take anywhere from several months to years to complete.

What happens if a Will is contested

Will contests are a type of estate litigation where the contestant challenges the validity of a will. Individuals legally permitted to contest a will must be named in the will (beneficiaries for example). Non-beneficiaries can contest the will if they can prove that they would have received something of value had the decedent died without a will. You may need to sit for a deposition, and you may be required to submit evidence on your behalf during discovery. You may even be asked to give testimony on the stand. Contesting a will can prolong the probate process by months or even years. Therefore, some beneficiaries may agree to a settlement with you instead. If you win the will contest, then you take control of the assets you claimed.

When probate is complete

The NY probate process is complete once the executor of the estate has paid off any and all taxes and debts owed by the estate, and has distributed the remaining assets either according to the will or NY intestate succession law.

Contact a NY Probate Attorney Today

With over 22 years of valuable experience in the field of estate planning,  the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn touts thousands of happy clients. To speak with a New York Probate Attorney, call us today and schedule your very own probate or administration consultation!


Really great experience with Inna Fershteyn and her law office, she was top notch! I was extremely happy I hired her with very complicated probate matters. Recommend her highly - Anneta Rozenberg

Very helpful and answered all my questions. Understood my specific needs and handled expeditiously. Highly recommended. - Michael Yusim

During these unprecedented times, it was important to me to ensure we have the proper paperwork in order for my parents. Inna helped me execute an emergency will and health care proxy and POA and drafted and executed all elder care documents in 1 week via video execution and even went to the office to notarize the documents for me. - Madeline Marte


Is Probate Always Required?

An estate must go through probate if it holds probatable assets that have a combined value greater than $30,000, unless a living trust has been set up.

What is Legacy Planning?

Legacy Planning is a financial strategy that prepares people to leave their assets to their loved ones or next of kin. Proper legacy planning allows your beneficiaries to receive as much value as possible from any assets that they inherit.

How Long Do You Have to Probate a Will After Death in New York?

There is no statute of limitations on probate in New York; an estate can be filed for probate 2 or 25 years after the death of the decedent.

How is a Will Validated By the Court?

A will is proven valid when all of the following are two and can be proven in court: the will is in writing, the person who wrote it (testator) has signed and dated it and two adult witnesses have signed it.

What if the Executor Does Not Probate the Will?

If the executor fails to file for probate and thus, probate the will, they will be unable to legally transfer the titles of the assets within the estate to the intended beneficiaries. Failure on the behalf of the executor to perform expected duties will allow the court to replace them or not permit compensation, typically a percentage of the estate’s assets.

Can You Avoid Probate?

An effective way to avoid probate is to place your assets in a living trust. Since assets in a trust are owned by the trust rather than yourself, they will not have to be probated.  Financial accounts with transfer-on-death beneficiaries can also avoid the probate process as they will be automatically transferred to the beneficiary upon confirmation of the death of the original owner.  Additionally, having joint tenancy with a right of survivorship over your property allows it to pass automatically to your significant other without going through probate.

Who Gets Paid First in Probate?

While laws vary slightly from state to state, the following order is generally followed throughout the country.

  1. Administrative Costs - court fees, filing fees, administrator’s commission, attorney fees
  2. Family Exemptions - payments to help family members with living expenses throughout the probate process
  3. Funeral & Burial costs
  4. Taxes
  5. Medical Bills
  6. All other debts

What Forms Do I Need to File for Probate?

  • The original will
  • An official copy of the death certificate.
  • Petition for Letters Testamentary
  • Affidavit of Heirship detailing the decedent's family tree.

The forms may require the information listed below:

  • Decedent’s full name, address, date of birth, and date of death.
  • Personal Representative(s)’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
  • Numbers and names of heirs. If the decedent did not leave a Will, heirs can be

determined by checking the decedent’s state’s intestate inheritance laws

  • The value of the estate and inventory of all personal and real property of the decedent.
  • The amount of each heir’s expected inheritance.
  • Signatures of the PR and/or the decedent’s heirs.

Links for Probate Forms: