Estate administration is the process of finalizing a deceased person's estate. It involves gathering assets, paying debts and distributing remaining assets.
Surrogate's Court If you suspect that somebody has wrongfully taken money or property from your mom before she died, you can commence proceedings in the Surrogate’s Court asking the Court to allow you to investigate who took the money. After the investigation, if you find out that the money was wrongfully taken from your mom, you can also bring a proceeding asking the Court to Order the money be returned to your mom’s estate. Discovery Proceeding The first step in this process is called a discovery proceeding and this proceeding may be commenced by you as the Executor. The purpose of this type of proceeding is to determine who took the money and is the investigatory stage of the proceeding. In a discovery proceeding, the Court usually grants you permission to take the deposition of any individual who may have information relating to the money taken from your mom during her lifetime. You do not need to have concrete proof that the individual has taken the money; you just need to demonstrate to the Court that the individual may have information regarding the stolen assets. Turnover Proceeding After you complete your investigation, and if you still believe that assets were wrongfully taken from your mom, you can convert the discovery proceeding into a turnover proceeding. The turnover proceeding is akin to suing someone asking for the return of the money they may have taken. In the turnover proceeding petition, you will show the evidence you obtained during the discovery proceeding that someone wrongfully took your mother’s the assets. Once proven, the Court can direct the person who stole the assets to give the assets back to the Estate. Since these proceedings have specific procedural requirements and several steps with the Court, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced estate administration attorney if you are confronted with these issues.
Probate General list of issues to keep in mind when in need of probating a propounded instrument set for as Last Will and Testament ... Meeting with an attorney who drafted the Will; determination if there are any prior Will(s); family tree with names, addresses and confirmation of deceased family members; timeline for probate proceeding; nominated fiduciaries; named beneficiaries and current addresses; possible testamentary trust for certain beneficiaries (for possible adults under disability or infants); estate accounting; creditor claims; distribution of assets; and formal vs. informal estate closure. Administration General list of issues to keep in mind when in need of opening an estate when there no Last Will and Testament or an invalid Will ... Meeting with an attorney to determine family tree with names, addresses and confirmation of deceased family members; review administration proceeding requirements; eligible fiduciaries; issue / distributees / next of kin needed to sign consents for appointment of estate administrator; estate accounting; creditor claims; distribution of assets; and formal vs. informal estate closure. Small Estate Proceeding General list of issues to keep in mind when in need of opening an estate regardless of whether there is a Last Will and Testament ... Meeting with an attorney to determine the type and value of estate assets as to personal property vs. real property; -eligible fiduciaries; estate assets; exempt property designation; creditor claims; distribution of assets; and formal vs. informal estate closure.
Summary Probate Administration For certain Florida estates, Summary Administration is a “shortcut” that can be used to avoid Formal Administration, which is a more complex, expensive, and time-consuming process. Under the Florida Probate Code, Summary Administration is only available in cases where: - The decedent has been dead for more than two years, or - The total value of the decedent’s estate is lower than $75,000. Florida Summary Administration can be started either by the “executor” of the estate or by anyone who is to inherit assets from the decedent’s estate. The first step is filing a Petition for Summary Administration with the court, which must state that the estate qualifies for Summary Administration and list all assets included in the estate and all beneficiaries of such assets. In order to be protected against any outstanding conflicts, all beneficiaries to the estate must either sign the Petition for Summary Administration or be given notice of it. Assuming no issues arise, the Petition for Summary Administration will allow the court to issue an order releasing all listed assets to their assigned beneficiaries. Formal Probate Administration For those estates that do not qualify for Summary Administration, a more detailed Probate process is required. This is known as Formal Administration. The Formal Administration process begins when the Probate court appoints a personal representative to handle the administration of the estate. The duties of a personal representative are set forth in detail in the Florida Probate Code and include: - Identifying and listing all assets included in the estate, - Paying off all debts owed by the decedent, and - Distributing the assets to all beneficiaries. During the Formal Administration process, anyone who believes they are owed money or assets by the decedent will have time to come forward and file an official claim with the court. When creditor claims are filed against an estate, the personal representative must address such claims and pay all debts owed by the decedent. Additionally, the personal representative must provide a final report to the court showing how the assets are to be distributed to the beneficiaries. Depending on the nature and size of the estate, and whether creditor claims are filed and how many, the Formal Probate Administration process can take anywhere from a few months to several years. Disposition Without Administration When it comes to Probate, there rare circumstances where an estate may avoid Probate administration altogether, through a process known as “Disposition without Administration.” Disposition without Administration is allowed when the decedent left behind very little assets, and what remains of the estate can usually be used to reimburse final expenses. However, estates that include real property that needs to be distributed amongst heirs, such as a farm or a home, will not qualify for Disposition without Administration. Anyone who paid for the final expenses of a family member or loved one and believes that they may qualify for Disposition without Administration should contact a qualified Florida Probate Attorney for assistance with the filing of the required paperwork. Work with a Florida Probate Attorney The Florida Probate Attorneys at Jurado & Farshchian, P.L. understand that handling Probate issues and going through court proceedings during difficult emotional times is something nobody enjoys doing, which is why we are dedicated to helping you through the Florida Probate process with sensitivity and efficiency.
Asset Inventory Pt. 1 When it's time to consider creating an Estate Plan many people rush the process and forget to account for all of their assets. Often it is unintentional, but it will most certainly be troubling for your loved ones. Without proper inventory, your loved ones may miss out on necessary financing, which could have made their lives easier. Before your attorney begins to draft your Estate Plan, you should sit down and do an inventory of your current assets. You can start this process by using a piece of paper or spreadsheet and divide that paper into five headings. 1) What is the asset? 2) Where is the asset? 3) Who owns the asset? 4) What is the asset worth? 5) What are the passwords and usernames for the assets? Asset Inventory Pt. 2 You may want to begin with listing where your Safety Deposit Box is if you have one. Do this by indicating where the key is and what institution holds the box. Next, determine your cash accounts, such as checking accounts, savings accounts and Certificate of Deposits and answer each of the five questions for each account. Next, you may want to determine if you own any custodial accounts for children or college saving accounts. These would be accounts that typically say, "for the benefit of." Next, list any Real Property you own and how you own it. In other words, how do you hold title to the home? Check your grant deed to determine how you own your property. If you do not have your grant deed, the county will provide a duplicate for a small fee. Next, list any other assets that come to your mind. These could include investments and retirement accounts. Be aware that certain accounts allow you to designate beneficiaries. Try to separate these accounts from those which have no beneficiary designation as this will be significant to your Estate Plan. Finally, enjoy this process. After all, you are doing this for yourself and your loved ones. The time you spend today will benefit those you love in the future.
What Does Probating a Will Mean? You received this document because the Executor is trying to “probate” your mother’s Will. Probating a Will means that the Executor is submitting a petition to Court and asking that the Court issue “letters testamentary” which allow the Executor to act. Most people think that upon death, the Executor is automatically empowered to act. However, the Executor must first be appointed by the Surrogate’s Court. The law requires that every person that has an interest in the estate be given notice and an opportunity to object to the Will. If your mother died without a Will, her spouse and her children are “interested parties” and “distributees” which means that those parties would inherit from her estate if she died without a Will. Probate Procedure A person seeking to probate a Will in New York must either obtain this signed Waiver and Consent from every distributee of the estate, or go through a longer and more expensive process of obtaining a court date and serving formal notice on all distributees that do not consent. This formal notice is known as a “Citation”. The Waiver and Consent is used to speed up the process when everybody agrees that the Will is valid and that the Will should be admitted to probate. If every distributee signs this Waiver and Consent it can save the estate significant time and expense. Waiver and Consent If you sign the Waiver and Consent, you are stating that you agree that your mother’s Will is a valid and that you consent that the person nominated in the Will may be appointed as the Executor of the Estate. If you refuse to sign the Waiver and Consent, nominated executor will be required to serve you with a Citation which gives you a date to appear in Surrogate’s Court. This date is a deadline by which you must formally object to the Will or request limited discovery about the execution of the Will. This limited discovery is called SCPA 1404 Examinations. These SCPA 1404 exams allow document discovery for the time period the will was executed and the right to question under oath the attorney that prepared the Will as well as the witnesses. If you fail to timely object or request the SCPA 1404 exams, you lose your right to object to the Will. The Will is then admitted to probate and the Executor of the Estate is appointed. Conclusion If you believe the Will is invalid, do not sign the Waiver and Consent. As soon as possible you should contact an attorney experienced in estate administration matters. Through your attorney, you can assess if you have good cause to challenge the validity of the Will. As a distributee of an estate you may have the right to challenge the validity of a Will but there may not be grounds to object. There are very specific grounds to contest a Will in New York.