Probate in New York is the process by which a Last Will and Testament is validated by the Surrogate’s Court. When a Will is admitted to probate the provisions of the document are given full force and effect. The Court then issues Letters Testamentary to the appointed Executor.
The probate process can be rather complex. One of the most important aspects is providing notice of the proceeding to the decedent’s distributees (next of kin). This is required because these individuals have a right to Object to the Will. If Objections are filed there is a Will Contest in which the validity of the Will must be determined. If the Will is found not to be valid, a decedent usually is then deemed to die intestate (without a Will) and his estate would pass to his distributees. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published many articles regarding the Will Contest process.
There are occasions when a person creates a new Will which changes the beneficiaries from a prior Will. In these cases persons whose interests may be adversely affected by the later Will also have a right to Object to the admission to probate of the new Will. Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act §1410 entitled “Who may file Objections to probate of an alleged Will” allows for Objections to be filed by person’s whose interests are adversely affected by the probate of a Will.
This situation arose in an Albany estate case entitled Matter of Estate of Wilke, decided by Albany Surrogate Stacy Pettit on July 30, 2019. In Wilke, the Court allowed a person, whose beneficiary interest was removed in a later Will, to participate in the SCPA §1404 examinations and to file Objections. SCPA §1404 entitled “Witnesses to be examined; proof required”, allows a person to engage in discovery such as depositions and document review before filing Objections to a Will.
Call me now if you want a free review of your probate or Will Contest issue. We handle all aspects of Estate and Trust cases and offer reasonable fee arrangements and personal representation.
New York Trusts and Estates Attorney Jules Martin Haas has helped many clients over the past 30 years resolve issues relating to probate and estate settlement throughout New York City including the Bronx and Brooklyn. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding these matters, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 for an initial free consultation.