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How Long Does Probate Last In New York?

Assuming there are no will contests or other litigation proceedings, a probate proceeding takes about one year in New York. “Probate” means the entire process of having the will approved, administering the estate and closing the estate. Sometimes, “probate” refers to only the legal process. An experienced Queens probate attorney can guide you through the Surrogate Court proceedings and the subsequent non-legal proceedings.

Approval

A Surrogate Court judge first reviews the will to make sure that it is carried out properly. The Court then appoints an executor, or affirms the appointment of the executor named in the will. This initial process usually takes about a month, although, in some cases, the wait time can be much shorter.

Estate administration

The executor distributes assets according to the terms of the will and pays lawful creditors of the estate. These creditors generally include the funeral home, taxing authorities and a few other specially placed entities. The Court does not accept a closing report for at least seven months. A small estate can probably be administered in approximately that time frame. A medium-sized or large estate may take considerably longer, especially if the administrator encounters difficulties, such as locating heirs and beneficiaries.

Tax closing

IRS review can take up to a year or more and frequently lasts longer than the actual estate administration. Once the IRS signs off on the estate’s tax return, the estate can be legally closed and the probate process is complete.

Unfortunately, executing a will isn’t always easy. With the help of a New York estate planning attorney, you can get through the probate process with as few hiccups as possible.

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