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Probate and Trust Administration

Lastly, when you pass away, we can assist your family in determining whether an estate tax return is required (even if no tax must be paid). We can also help your family probate your will, if necessary, and administer any trust that you have.

In the event you pass away owning assets valued at more than $3,125,000, a New York State Estate Tax Return must be filed. If your assets are left to someone other than your spouse, chances are that some New York State estate tax may be due. If your estate is worth more than $5,430,000, a Federal Estate Tax Return must also be filed. Again, if your assets are left to someone other than your spouse, in all likelihood, Federal estate tax will have to be paid.

If you die leaving assets which:

  • Are not joint with another person;
  • Are not in a trust; or
  • Do not name a beneficiary

then it is likely that your will may have to be probated in order to gain control of those assets. Special rules apply to real estate.

Probate involves petitioning the Surrogate’s Court in your county and providing them with your original will. This process allows the Executor named in your will to become vested with powers to gather and distribute your assets after your final debts are paid according to the terms of your will. If you do not have a will, an Administration proceeding can be brought to appoint an Administrator to distribute your assets to your heirs at law.

When you have assets titled in the name of a trust, upon your death, the current trustee is responsible for administering the trust in accordance with the written terms of the trust. He or she may require assistance and legal advice which we can provide to them.