Is Surogate Court expensive for probating will? Is my mother's will legal since it is hand written and not notorized?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Canastota, NY

I would like to know if I can get a lawyer to help me pro-bono? I don't have any money.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Joseph Jonathan Brophy

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In New York, a will that is not witnessed is no will at all. When there is no will, the court has procedures for intestate administration. For a substantial estate, many lawyers will defer their fee and take it from the estate assets. The size of the fee is usually based on the amount of work involved. If the estate is very small, there are small estate procedures that are inexpensive and do not require a lawyer. The clerk of your local Surrogate's Court can answer questions about such proceedings. It's better to go in person than try to get such information over the phone. If you go there, the clerk will usually give you the necessary papers and explain what information is needed.

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  2. Peter Vincent Arcese

    Contributor Level 7


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You'll need a lawyer to take a look at the Will and see if it meets the formalities of execution to be valid. Some local Bar Associations and law school clinical programs have events (sometimes monthly) where you can go in and have a document reviewed pro bono. You might check those in or near your county. It's worth calling to find out.

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  3. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . You can try checking with the State Bar or here, for pro bono lawyers:

    You are right to handle this through a lawyer. It can be very confusing and much more expensive in the long run, to try to do this on your own.

    Good luck to you!

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and... more

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