Kingston Wills & Probate Lawyer
At Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, our Kingston wills & probate lawyers help executors, beneficiaries, and heirs navigate the probate process in New York, providing advice and guidance to advance and protect our clients’ interests. If there is a dispute during probate, we also handle will contests.
Probate Process in New York
Probate is the legal process of formally transferring a deceased person’s assets to his or her beneficiaries or heirs, and settling any final debts. If the deceased person had a will, the terms of the will are followed when distributing property and settling the estate. If the deceased person died without a will, then New York’s laws of intestate succession are applied by the probate (Surrogate’s) court.
If you are named the executor of a will, you must complete many steps to effectively perform your executory duties, from filing and publishing the will to valuing the deceased person’s assets to obtaining Waivers of Service and witness affidavits. Then you will need to attend a probate hearing before you can distribute property and pay debts.
Our probate lawyers will work with you to navigate the probate process smoothly, taking advantage of benefits whenever possible (such as eliminating creditors’ claims) while avoiding the potentially costly errors made by less experienced probate attorneys.
Will Contests during the Probate Process
Sometimes during the probate process, disputes arise regarding the validity of a will. These disputes—referred to as will contests—can be especially stressful for all involved and detrimental to the estate. The most common reasons a will may be contested include:
- The will does not reflect the actual intent of the testator (the person who made the will)
- The will was forged
- The testator lacked capacity
- The testator was operating under an insane delusion
- The testator was subject to undue influence or fraud
Simply because the provisions of a will may seem unfair does not mean the will is invalid. If you have concerns about the validity of a will, we can help you determine the likelihood that a court will agree. If you are an executor of a will and there is a lot of contention among the deceased’s family and beneficiaries, we can help you work through any potential will contests.
Contact Us for Help with Probate & Will Contests
Kingston will and probate lawyers at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP have helped Hudson Valley residents handle legal issues related to probate and wills for more than a century. Contact us for more information about our probate services.