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How long does the probate process take in New York?

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2024 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Probate helps ensure that a deceased person’s will is genuine and that their assets go to the right people. The time probate takes in New York can differ based on several factors but typically lasts seven to nine months. It may take longer if it involves complex assets or contested wills. 

Understanding the probate process

The probate process in New York begins when the executor in the will files a petition with the Surrogate’s Court in the county where the deceased resided. The court first validates the will to confirm its legitimacy. Then, they formally appoint an executor with the authority to manage the estate. This includes identifying and collecting the deceased’s assets, notifying creditors and paying any debts or taxes the estate owes.

After settling debts, the executor distributes the remaining assets to the beneficiaries as stated in the will. The executor must also file an accounting with the court detailing all transactions made on behalf of the estate. The process typically takes around seven to nine months, but this can vary depending on the estate’s complexity and the executor’s efficiency.

Potential challenges that can delay probate

Several factors can delay the probate process in New York, so executors and beneficiaries must be aware of potential obstacles.

  • Contesting the will: If an interested party believes the will is invalid due to undue influence, fraud or lack of mental capacity, they can file a will contest. This can significantly lengthen the probate process as the court needs to resolve the dispute.
  • Locating beneficiaries or assets: Locating all the beneficiaries or assets can delay the process.
  • Complex assets: If the estate involves complex assets like real estate or business interests, properly appraising and distributing these assets may take longer.

Learning about the steps and challenges can help you better manage your expectations

Dealing with probate can be challenging, especially when you are already coping with the loss of a loved one. Knowing the steps and potential roadblocks makes the process smoother. With patience and understanding, families can unite to honor their loved one’s wishes and find peace in difficult times.