Long Island Probate Lawyers Providing Effective Counsel
While it is always best to talk to an estate planning attorney and get a last will and testament prepared and ready, the truth is that many people do not ensure this is done to protect their assets and provide for their beneficiaries. When there is no will or that will is being contested, probate lawyers can help family members navigate the elder law system and the specific process of going through probate in Nassau County.
Contact the law offices of MontanaroLaw P.C. to speak with a member of our legal team and find out how we can help you get through the probate process as quickly and smoothly as possible. We have a free consultation offer so you can discuss your case with one of our attorneys and understand your options moving forward.
What Is Probate Law?
Probate law is a subcategory of elder law. It involves the larger probate process that is required in the state of New York to validate and execute a last will and testament. A New York probate lawyer has experience in dealing with common probate issues and can help family members contest a will or fight to be named the executor of the estate if no will was left.
What Is Involved in the Probate Process?
There are several steps involved in the probate process, and it depends on whether or not a last will and testament exist and whether there is any argument about its validity. The probate court is responsible for ensuring that any will that exists as part of the estate is valid and has met all of the state requirements, such as signatures, dates, and witnesses. The probate court will also create a list of any personal property that’s part of the estate but not otherwise protected in a trust and have it valued. The property must be valued so that there can be a total value of the estate.
Any outstanding taxes or debts must be paid from the estate before the remaining assets can be paid out to the beneficiaries. If no will exists or it is deemed invalid, the assets will be divided according to the parameters set forth in the state law. It’s not unusual for there to be arguments among family members if this happens as to who gets what, and this is where having an estate planning attorney can help guide you through any estate litigation.
Assets that are protected via trusts do not have to go through the probate process. It is sometimes possible for the beneficiaries to ask the courts to disburse some assets before the probate process is complete if there is an immediate need, but it’s important to understand that probate is a lengthy process that can tie up assets for months.
How Can a Probate Attorney Help Me?
A probate attorney can be an invaluable part of helping you navigate the particulars of elder law while you go through the legal process of probate. In addition to dealing with matters such as contested wills, ensuring the executor is performing their fiduciary duty, and helping with estate administration, a probate attorney can explain the legal system and what to expect.
Many people are surprised that a last will and testament has to go through the process of probate, even if there is no debate about its authenticity or directives and how long the process can take. A probate attorney can help set expectations for the timeline depending on the particulars of your situation and be a source of information and answers as you get through each part.
What Should I Look for When Talking to Probate Lawyers?
If you are interested in hiring a probate law firm, it is important to fully evaluate the legal team to ensure that they have the experience and knowledge to provide effective counsel in your case. A New York probate lawyer should be familiar with all of the probate court requirements and know what you will need to do as you go through the probate process.
If you have a specific situation, such as a contested will, a missing will, or a dispute over who should be named executor of the estate, it is a good idea to ask questions about an attorney’s familiarity with these types of issues and how many similar cases they have successfully represented. If the lawyer is not familiar with the specific problem you are dealing with, it may be best to look at other firms.
When you are talking to a potential probate lawyer, it is also important to find out how they run their firm, including how they communicate with clients and what their payment terms are. Some probate lawyers may be willing to handle simple issues for a flat fee, while others will require a retainer, especially if it is a complicated probate situation that is expected to require several court appearances.
How MontanaroLaw P.C. Can Help
Dealing with probate issues after losing a loved one can be very difficult, which is why it is important to have an estate planning attorney on your side. An attorney familiar with the New York area may also be more experienced in what the local probate courts require and how cases are usually handled, as well as what to have ready to try to expedite the case. Our law firm has experience in handling all types of probate law cases and is ready to provide legal counsel for family members, other beneficiaries, executors of estates, and other parties involved in the probate process.
MontanaroLaw P.C. has law offices in Long Island and New York City and serves clients in the greater Nassau County area. Call (516) 809-7735 to find out more about our probate services or schedule a free consultation.