If there are no unforeseen circumstances in the administration of a New York will, it should take under a year for probate to be completed. Probate is the analysis and transfer of assets previously owned by a deceased person, which are commonly reviewed by a probate court. The probate court provides the final ruling on division and distribution of assets to beneficiaries.


After the death of the preparer of a last will and testament, the will be read to any named heirs.  The personal representative, or executor of the document will be formally identified at that time for the asset distribution of the estate.  If a probate lawyer was not already in place with regard to the will, the executor of the estate can hire a New York probate attorney who will file a copy of the will along with a certified copy of the death certificate of the will maker in the New York Surrogate Court. The following actions will need to be completed to close out a will.

  • A letter of administration from the court will be drafted giving a personal representative power to act on behalf of the estate. A list of assets must be prepared along with a list of creditors that will be notified of the account holder’s death.
  • Property appraisals are completed, along with selling off assets to pay creditors and distributions to heirs.
  • A valuation of the estate should be completed and the estate attorney will complete a Form 706 Estate Tax return. The executor pays estate taxes out of the estate proceeds.
  • All creditor claims should be paid and disputes with interested parties resolved.
  • Federal Income Tax Return 1040 and 1041 must be filed along with a final accounting of the estate to the Surrogate Court in preparation of closing out the estate.
  • If there are no delays in selling real property or personal assets, and all litigation has been resolved, the assets should be distributed to named beneficiaries and a petition to discharge the personal representative should be filed with the court to close the estate.

Probate hurdles.

  • Creditor claims resulting in litigation
  • Will contests
  • Accounting document contests
  • Legal proceedings to remove named executor for breaches in fiduciary duty

Seek legal counsel.

The size of an estate, the named beneficiaries and other entanglements surrounding a Last Will  and Testament require the assistance of experienced legal counsel who understand the state and federal laws that will impact its administration.  Contact Attorney Ron Meyers with probate questions and concerns if you are concerned about how long it is taking to close out a will in which you are an interested party. 


Ron L. Meyers & Associates, PLLC

Address:  475 Park Avenue South, Suite 2100

Manhattan, NY 10016

Phone: 212-644-8787




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