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Estate planning begins with the last will and testament. A will is a simple legal document in which you declare who will manage your estate and how your estate will be divided after you die. A will is also important for establishing who becomes the guardian of any minor children or dependents left behind. When a loved one passes away with a valid will, the estate must be probated. Having a valid will makes the probate process simpler and shorter. That’s why proper estate planning is essential.
With over 26 years of legal experience in estate planning, Jeffrey L. Weinstein has become one of the most trusted names in drafting wills and providing probate services. If you are beginning to consider setting up a plan for your estate, you must call the attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Weinstein to provide you with the help you need.
First, we obtain information regarding family members and kinship. Getting information regarding next of kin or heirship may not always be a simple task. Family members may have become estranged over the years and difficult. A thorough review of assets is needed to ascertain the value of the estate. Assets include bank accounts, stocks, and real estate.
Planning for your estate can be a complex process. Jointly owned funds, real estate, or items such as insurance, which have a specific beneficiary, will pass directly to such named person and will generally not be subject to terms of the Last Will. Sometimes, next of kin are more removed, such as first or second cousins, and Surrogate’s Court may require proof of identity before assets may be collected. Having an understanding of probate procedures before you create your Last Will and Testament makes the process much easier, and having a skilled attorney is essential.
Upon the death of a loved one, the Law Offices of Jeffrey Weinstein can help you navigate the will and probate process. We will explain the duties of an executor and help you with legal notices, claims against the estate, and the transfer of the property to the beneficiaries.
Your estate attorney will prepare a probation petition on behalf of the executor, which will be filed in the Surrogate’s Court in the county where the decedent resided. If the decedent lived primarily in Queens County, then the Will is to be probated in the Queens Surrogate Court, for example.
The petition must contain essential information regarding the decedent, the Last Will including the names of the witnesses, the estimated estate value, the names and addresses of the decedent’s next of kin, and the beneficiaries named in the will. It is important for the court to have information regarding the decedent’s next of kin (“distributees”) because the persons have the right to receive notice of probate proceedings even if they are not named in the Will. A distributee can contest a Will if their objections are based on undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, or improper execution.
For information on will and probate services, call Jeffrey Weinstein direct at 212-693-3737.