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As a courtesy to our visitors, we have provided informative articles and helpful guides about probate, estate administration, wills, small estates, estate taxation, executors’ fees and more.  Please remember that the information provided is not a substitute for legal advice from an attorney familiar with the facts of your legal matter.

See our Probate Blog for the most recent articles.

The Estate Tax

The laws on Estate  Taxes are considered to be some of the most complicated in the Internal Revenue Code.  This article will help shed some light on the subject by answering some basic questions about when and if you need to file a return.

Federal and New York State Estate Tax

The estate tax has been settled, and it’s good news for most taxpayers.

Do You Need a Last Will & Testament?

No matter how much or how little money you have, a will guarantees that whatever personal belongings and assets you do have will go to family or the beneficiaries you specify. Without a will, the court makes these decisions.

The Need for a Last Will and Testament

If you die suddenly without a will, you'll be subjecting your family and loved ones to disarray and anxiety. . .

Who Pays The debts of the Deceased?

As an estate attorney, I am often asked "am I responsible for my deceased relatives debts?" The answer is almost always "no." Unless you are a joint debtor or co-signor, you are not responsible for your deceased relative’s debts.  But will that stop the credit agents from trying to collect?

Are You Responsible for Decedent Debts

The credit card company or collection agency just wants to collect money from any source they can…

New York’s Probate Process

Before the Will has any legal effect, it must be admitted to probate by the Surrogate’s Court located in the county where the person died. This article presents an overview of the probate process.

Probate a New York Will

A valid will must be properly executed and accurately reflect the wishes of the testator.

Quick Start Guide For Estate Executors

If you have been named as an Executor in a Will or are planning to become the Administrator of an estate without a Will, this guide will give you a good idea of what is expected of you. Included is a discussion of executors’ fees.

A Guide for Estate Executors and Administrators

A fiduciary is expected to be extremely loyal to the estate, its creditors and beneficiaries.

Dying Without a Will in New York

If your relative dies without a Last Will & Testament, the process by which a fiduciary is appointed for the estate is called Intestate Administration. An Administrator needs to be appointed for the estate if the decedent died with assets valued at $30,000 or more.

Intestate Administration

Since the decedent died without a will, the law governs how the estate is divided and to whom.

Settlement of a New York Small Estate


A small estate is the estate of an individual who dies leaving personal property having a gross value of $30,000 or less.

New York Small Estates

A voluntary administrator is a relative who qualifies and undertakes to settle the estate of a decedent without the formality of a full court administration.

Is it Safe to Prepare My Will Online?

Online law firms offer a safer choice for clients by including attorney review with self-prepared wills. Virtual law firms are the wave of the future as it's hard to dispute the fact that electronic delivery of legal services is cost-effective and convenient for clients.

Online Will Preparation

Having your will or other legal documents reviewed by an attorney is a better option than buying un-reviewed self-prepared documents.

Kinship Hearings - Proving Your Family Tree

You may be an heir or distributee of an estate, but you still can be called upon to prove your relationship to the decedent before you get your inheritance.  The process by which you establish kinship is known as a Kinship Hearing.

Kinship Hearings

You may be required to produce disinterested witnesses who are able to testify regarding the decedent’s family tree.

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