(Surrogate Court Practice):
When a Decedent (the person who died) had a Will then the Will must be filed in Surrogate’s Court and admitted for probate. If the Decedent died without a Will, then an administration proceeding should be file. If the Decedent had less than $30,000 of personal property with a Will or without a Will, then a small estate, also called a voluntary administration proceeding, can be filed instead.
Probate is the process of proving that the Will is valid. During probate, the Will is proved to the satisfaction of the court that it’s the Last Will and Testament of the person who died. Once the Surrogate (the judge in Surrogate’s Court) is convinced of the validity of the Will, the Executor named in the Will is appointed to distribute the estate and carry out the wishes of the person who died. The Surrogate’s Court oversees this process.
The Executor files the original Will and a certified copy of the death certificate with the probate petition and other supporting documents in the Surrogate’s Court in the county where the Decedent had their primary residence. Here in Erie County our office files the papers over the internet using NYSCEF, the New York State Courts Electronic Filing system. The Decedent’s distributees (heirs) must also be listed in the probate petition. Distributees must be served with a notice, formally called a citation. The citation gives the Surrogate’s Court jurisdiction over them. This means that the Surrogate’s Court has the authority to determine the rights of the people involved. A citation tells the distributee that the Executor filed for the authority to manage the Decedent’s estate. The distributee can sign a waiver and consent to the appointment of the Executor or come to court to disagree with the appointment. Beneficiaries who will inherit something under the will must be notified of the probate proceeding. The filing fee is based on the size of the estate. Probate proceedings can be very complicated. In New York State it is a good idea to get a lawyer. Our office has helped clients in Buffalo, Amherst, Lackawanna and the entire Western New York area in having their love one’s will probated and having our client named executor.
After the death of a loved one, the Last Will & Testament will have to be admitted to the Court for Probate. At Jason Shear Law, we can apply to the Surrogate’s Court and guide you through the process of Probate so that the letters of administration can be issued to the Executor and the assets properly distributed. All across Western New York and the Buffalo area, we have represented a diverse client base with all their Probate and Estate matters.