A death in the family can be a terrible experience and it oftentimes takes a long time for the family to cope with the loss of the loved one. In addition to being a major emotional challenge, the death can also mean taking charge and making important decisions regarding the finances of the deceased. While it is true that probate and estate administration can be overwhelming for many people, a person cannot ignore the fact that tending to the financial matters are an important task that a family should not procrastinate about for long.
Probate and estate administration attorneys in New York State help surviving family members make an inventory of the assets that the deceased owned. It is important to determine whether those assets were owned by the deceased individually or jointly. As many people may have already experienced, mere identification of assets can sometimes be a difficult exercise.
The first step usually involves locating the deceased person's will. If there is no jointly held property, the last will and testament of the deceased identifies the executor of the will. This executor will be the estate administrator and must distribute the assets as directed in the will. If there is no will, the estate of the deceased is distributed per the provisions of New York State laws. Estate administration, however, can only begin after the executor of the will has filed a petition in the county court.
Identifying the will and acting per the directions are the first steps, but an administrator must perform more tasks as well, such as paying estate and income taxes and repaying debts, in addition to performing various other statutory duties. For more information, please visit the Futterman, Lanza & Pasculli, LLP website.