When a Last Will and Testament is filed with the Surrogate’s Court for probate, a number of procedural steps must be followed. The Will itself is accompanied by a Probate Petition. The Petition contains essential information regarding the decedent, the date of death, the names of the attesting witnesses, the date of the Will and the estimated value of the probate estate.
Another very important part of the Probate Petition is the listing of names and addresses of all of the individuals and entities that are interested in the estate. These include the beneficiaries, the named executors and trustees and the decedent’s next of kin (“distributees”). The distributees are individuals who have a right to object to the Will. If the Will is found to be invalid, the estate would be distributed to the next of kin according to the laws of intestacy contained in Estates, Powers and Trusts Law section 4-1.1. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has provided many articles concerning the probate process and Will Contests.
If a distributee wants to pursue estate litigation and a possible Contested Will proceeding, the procedures contained in Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) section 1404 entitled “Witnesses to be examined; proof required” are followed.