WHAT WE DO
PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION
Whether you have been appointed an executor of an estate, a loved one has passed without a will, or you are the trustee of a trust, the attorneys at Esther Schwartz Zelmanovitz, PLLC can assist you.
Fiduciaries are required to account to beneficiaries or to the court or to other institutions regarding their actions as a fiduciary. Some examples are:
An executor or administrator of an estate has the duty to account to the beneficiaries of an estate at the conclusion of estate administration, showing the assets collected, the debts and expenses paid and the amounts to be distributed.
A guardian has the duty to account to the court regarding the use of guardianship account funds, usually on an annual basis.
Trustees may also have the duty to account for their use of trust funds to the beneficiary, the court or to other institutions on an annual basis.
Our office can assist the fiduciary in the preparation and the filing of such accountings and delivering it to the appropriate parties.
Schedule an appointment so that we can begin to help you fulfill your role as fiduciary.
Probate is the legal process started in order to have a will accepted by the court, and to have an executor appointed to handle the decedent’s estate in accordance with his or her Last Will and Testament. If a decedent dies without a Will, an administration proceeding may take place. If there is no Will stating the wishes of the decedent, New York’s intestacy laws would determine who would inherit the decedent’s assets and who may act as fiduciary of the estate.
The important task of managing and handling a deceased loved one’s estate deserves the respect and attention that the decedent would hope for. The executor or administrator is responsible for managing the deceased individual’s assets and for making sure that the estate is managed and distributed properly according to procedure. Being an executor is a big responsibility that involves many steps.
What are some things an executor or administrator would be expected to do during estate administration?
- Create an inventory of the deceased person’s assets
- File the will (if applicable) in the appropriate Surrogate’s court so that the will may be admitted to probate
- Preserve all of the decedent’s assets until final distribution
- Resolve debt, bills, taxes, and paying creditors
- Notify banks and government agencies of the death
- Distribute the deceased’s assets to beneficiaries
The executor does not necessarily have to be a financial or legal expert, although some individuals do end up hiring these experts to assist with estate administration. Because estate administration is a complex task that can be time-consuming, you may feel more comfortable getting the assistance of an attorney rather than administering the estate by yourself.
If you are named the Executor or Executrix in a will, or appointed the Administrator or Administratrix when there is no will, the responsibilities may appear daunting. We can help you at each step and provide complete services.
Our probate lawyers can help you:
- Appoint a personal representative
- Marshal and protect estate assets
- Prepare an inventory of all estate assets
- Open estate accounts
- Pay estate taxes, debts, and expenses
- Make distributions to beneficiaries
- Prepare accountings or tax returns, and
- Any other necessary work
Our office can provide you with efficient representation to guide you through the process.