The New York Probate Process Involves Numerous Documents

The Probate of a Last Will in New York can appear to be a complicated and mysterious procedure. While the rules and procedures of the Surrogate’s Court are complex, certain fundamental requirements for Probate are fairly easy to set forth.

Among the essential aspects to a Probate proceeding is providing the parties interested in the proceeding with proper notice that the Court case has been commenced. In particular, the decedent’s “distributees” or closest next of kin are required to be served with a “Citation”. A “Citation” is like a summons in a regular civil action. The Citation will advise the parties who receive it as to the Court date and that they need to appear if they desire to object to the Probate of the Will. The necessity of having to serve a Citation and wait for a Court date, which may not be scheduled for a month or more after the Will is filed with the Court, results in a delay in the administration of the decedent’s estate.

In most estates where close family members, such as spouse or children, have no objection to the Probate of the Will, a form entitled “Waiver of Issuance and Service of Process and Consent to Probate” can be signed by the interested party. This form once signed and notarized, dispenses with the need to serve a Citation on such person. In fact, if all the necessary parties sign such a form, there is no need to serve a Citation at all and the Probate process and estate administration can be expedited.

Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act Section 401(4) provides, in part, that the Waiver Form “shall state the date of the will to which it relates and that a copy has been furnished or examined.”

In most instances when a client has requested that I represent them in Probate proceedings, efforts are made to obtain signed Waiver forms from all necessary parties as quickly as possible. While there are many aspects to and requirements for Probate, obtaining Waivers is always a first essential step, where possible.

New York Probate Attorney Jules Martin Haas, Esq. has been representing clients in Probate and Estate Settlement matters in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn throughout the past 30 years. If you or someone you know is involved with or has questions about a New York Probate or Estate, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 or email:, for an initial consultation.

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