In New York probate actions (Surrogate Court), a will must be proved to the satisfaction of the court that it is the Last Will and Testament of the person who died. Once the Judge in New York Surrogate’s Court is convinced of the validity of a will, the executor named in the will is then appointed to distribute the estate, by carrying out the wishes of the person who died. The Surrogate’s Court oversees this process.
Multiple will document versions.
Individuals may prepare, or have counsel prepare multiple wills during their lifetime that reflect changes in family, business, or financial situations that influence personal estate matters. Different versions of a will, new wills or codicils to wills may result in outdated documents that name different responsible parties after a person dies. When the provisions of the wills are vastly different, it may lead to questions regarding the validity of the newest document. A person must have a financial interest in defeating a will that has been filed in Surrogate Court in order to object to its validity, under Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act Section 1410. Changes to named executors in different versions of wills cause complications to probate action, when an earlier named executer feels deprived of his duties in the newer will.
Changes to executors.
A common situation is that the individual nominated as executor in a later will is different from the person named in an earlier will, resulting in the earlier named executor wanting to object to the later will, as it may deprive them from potential executorship with the statutory commissions that result in thousands of dollars for larger New York Estates.
Comprehensive estate planning impacts ease of probate after death.
Setting up a comprehensive estate plan, and making attempts to clearly extend a person’s wishes after death in their Last Will and Testament documents can eliminate any confusion when probate actions begin. Old wills should be disposed of when a new version is executed. An experienced New York probate attorney can assist in this process by disposing old will documents, and requesting their clients notify executors of updates and changes to their status in a new will document. Each case is unique and probate actions will be contingent on the Surrogate Court validating the most current will, consult with Ron Meyers, a knowledgeable probate attorney in New York to guide you through contested actions by individuals named on older invalid documents.
Ron L. Meyers & Associates, PLLC
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Manhattan, NY 10016