The probate process must take place after the vast majority of deaths in Hauppauge, NY and surrounding locations. The process is designed to facilitate the transfer of assets from a deceased person who has passed away to heirs who stand to inherit. There are also other steps taken during the probate process as well, such as the valuation of the estate for estate tax purposes as well as the opportunity for creditors to assert claims against the estate.
Ideally, when the deceased has left a valid will, the probate process should be relatively straight-forward and simple. Unfortunately, often we do not live in an ideal world. A great many different problems can arise during the process.
Whenever issues do come up, it is imperative for those who are affected to get proper legal help. A Hauppauge probate lawyer at Mark S. Eghrari and Associates PLLC can provide legal representation to those who are facing any problems during the probate process. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help.
Common Problems That Arise During Probate
Problems can arise at all states of the probate proceedings and they can involve many different issues raised by a death. For example, some of the problems which may occur include:
- A person named as executor not wanting the role. When a will is created, an executor is named. The executor has significant responsibility for managing assets and for making sure the probate process goes smoothly. While most people named as executors opt to carry out their role, some do not want this responsibility. If an individual who is named as executor opts out, the court may appoint someone to administer the probate proceedings.
- A dispute over the value of the estate. Accurately valuing money, property, and other estate assets is essential. One reason why accurate valuation is so important is to determine if estate taxes should be assessed and in what amount. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) indicates estate taxes will be assessed on estates with assets valued at $5.45 million or greater. When an estate is close to this amount or to NY’s threshold limits for estate taxes, questions of valuation can become high-stakes.
- A challenge to the validity of the will. Sometimes, heirs (or potential heirs) believe that a will isn’t valid because it was made while the deceased was under undue influence or because it was made on the basis of fraud. Anyone who is interested in challenging the validity of the will is going to need to prove why the deceased’s document is not valid and shouldn’t be enforced.
- An assertion that there is a newer will superseding the old one. Sometimes, there are multiple wills and it becomes necessary to determine which is the newest and thus the enforceable will.
- Allegations that an executor is not fulfilling his fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty is the strongest obligation under the law. An executor to a will is a fiduciary and thus has the responsibility to manage assets carefully for the benefit of the estate and beneficiaries. If an executor fails to appropriately manage assets, is caught taking the deceased’s assets, or otherwise fails to live up to his obligations, victims harmed by the breach of duty may be able to make a damage claim.
These are just a few of many different problems which may arise during probate proceedings. Probate can sometimes result in families fighting, the value of assets being reduced, and other undesirable consequences.
Many people explore options to avoid probate altogether as part of their estate plan so these issues can be avoided. However, if you do have assets transferring through probate, it is beneficial to have good legal advice while you create a comprehensive estate plan. Your attorney can advise you on how to maximize the chances your wishes will be respected and your family will be cared for after you are gone. An attorney can also represent executors, heirs, and other interested parties during probate proceedings.
How a Hauppauge Probate Lawyer Can Help
A Hauppauge probate lawyer at Mark S. Eghrari and Associates PLLC can provide you with the assistance that you need to address issues that arise during the probate process. Give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online to learn more about how an attorney can assist you in making sure the wishes of the deceased are respected and heirs are able to inherit. You can also Download our estate planning checklist to find out about options for avoiding probate and allowing assets to pass through to heirs in a more timely manner.