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New York City Estate Administration Attorney

When a loved one passes away, the last thing you want to worry about are the complexities of estate law. A knowledgeable estate administration attorney in New York City can help you navigate the uncertainty and challenges during such difficult times. At Holm & O’Hara LLP, we specialize in providing comprehensive legal services in estate administration and bringing experience and compassion to the various challenges and legal proceedings faced by family members. Our experienced attorneys, well-versed in both estate law and the nuances of estate administration, offer expert guidance and representation to clients, with a focus on providing personalized services that keep and protect your best interests at heart.

What Does Estate Administration Involve?

Estate administration is the managing and settling of the affairs of a deceased person’s estate. It is a multifaceted process that requires meticulous attention to detail and legal expertise. For those tasked with the estate administration of the deceased, the process involves not only the distribution of assets, but also the responsibility of upholding their legacy and the fair and equitable resolution of their final affairs.

Estate administration involves several key steps and may be a lengthy process. If a will exists, the first step is the confirmation of the validity of the deceased’s will through the probate process, and the official appointment of the executor by the Surrogate’s Court. In the absence of a will, an administrator is appointed by the Court upon submission of the requisite petition and supporting documentation. Probate is an essential legal procedure that ensures the will’s validity and that the deceased’s final wishes are honored and their estate is properly settled.

After a fiduciary is appointed, a comprehensive assessment and gathering of all the deceased individual’s assets and the settlement of outstanding obligations such as debts and liabilities, including payment of any applicable estate and income taxes, is undertaken. These financial responsibilities must be met before the distribution of assets to beneficiaries can begin.

The estate administration process may involve managing and resolving estate litigation. This can arise from disputes among beneficiaries, challenges to the will’s validity, or claims against the estate by creditors. Our attorneys have decades of experience resolving estate-related disputes and litigation and can assist in protecting your interests.

What Our Attorneys Can Do to Help

Our team of skilled attorneys provides a broad range of services to help you navigate the complexities of estate planning and estate administration. We assist in various aspects of estate administration, whether you are a beneficiary or an executor, and whether or not the deceased has left a will.

Probate Estate Administration

Probate is the legal procedure for establishing the validity of a will and appointing an executor to oversee and administer the estate. This process involves presenting the will to the Surrogate’s Court and proving to the satisfaction of the judge, known as the Surrogate, that the will is valid. Once the will is validated, the executor is officially appointed. The executor’s role is to collect and distribute the deceased’s assets and to fulfill the deceased’s last wishes as outlined in the will. The entire process is supervised and overseen by the Surrogate’s Court to ensure proper administration and adherence to legal standards. Our attorneys guide executors through the probate process from start to finish in the Surrogate’s Court, assisting with the collection and valuation of assets, the identification and settlements of debts and liabilities, and the distribution of the estate according to the will’s terms.

Administration Proceedings

Administration proceedings are necessary in cases where a person passes away without having left a will, or no valid will exists. In such situations, typically the next of kin of the deceased are appointed as the administrator(s) of the estate. This appointment is formalized through the issuance of Letters of Administration in New York. These letters grant the administrator the legal authority to manage and settle the decedent’s estate. Our estate administration attorneys provide legal representation in the process of appointment of an administrator and ensure that the estate is settled according to New York State laws, including the distribution of assets to the decedent’s natural heirs.

Intestate Estate Administration

Once appointed, the Administrator’s primary role is to gather and manage the estate’s assets. This process includes identifying all property, finances, and other valuables that comprised the deceased’s estate, as well as identifying any debts or claims against the estate. The Administrator then proceeds to settle any debts and distribute the remaining assets. However, unlike cases where a will dictates the distribution, in instances of intestacy (dying without a will), the assets are distributed according to the statutory laws of New York.

These state intestacy laws require a specific order of distribution, generally prioritizing close family members such as parents, a spouse, children, and other family members. The exact distribution pattern can vary based on the family structure and the existence of surviving relatives.

For intestate estates matters, our estate attorneys provide comprehensive services to administer the estate based on state intestacy laws. This includes identifying legal heirs, managing estate assets, settling the claims and debts against the estate, and ensuring proper distribution among entitled parties.

Estate Tax Compliance

Managing estate taxes is a critical and often complex component of estate administration. At Holm & O’Hara LLP, our attorneys bring many decades of experience in guiding administrators and executors through the nuances of both federal and New York State estate taxes.

Our legal team conducts a comprehensive analysis of the estate to determine potential tax liabilities. We assist administrators in the calculation of estate taxes and advise them on all allowable deductions and exemptions under current tax laws. It is also important to carefully review the terms of the will or trusts that will be relevant and guide clients throughout the administration process with the most tax efficient help possible.

We also prepare the estate tax returns ensuring they are completed correctly and submitted within the required deadlines. We explore various legal avenues to minimize tax liabilities and maximize savings for the estate. We work closely with executors and administrators to develop tailored strategies that align with the decedent’s wishes while optimizing the estate’s financial outcome.

In addition to aiding with immediate tax concerns, our estate administration attorneys provide long-term estate planning advice to help executors and beneficiaries plan for future tax efficiency.

Lifetime Trust Administration

We also provide a full range of services in the subspecialty of lifetime trust administration and assisting trustees in managing trusts throughout the lifetime of a beneficiary. This crucial service encompasses comprehensive legal advice and support in key areas including trust creation and management, fiduciary and legal compliance, communication with beneficiaries, and tax planning.

Post-Mortem Trust Administration

Our firm offers specialized services in post-mortem trust administration, a crucial process that involves the management and distribution of trust assets following the settlor or primary beneficiary’s death. This sensitive and often complex phase requires meticulous legal oversight and guidance.

Trustee Services

Our estate administration attorneys provide comprehensive trustee services, serving as a neutral and objective third party responsible for administering trusts in strict accordance with the settlor’s wishes and legal mandates. This role is vital in ensuring that the trust operates smoothly and effectively, fulfilling its intended purpose.

Work with a New York City Estate Administration Attorney

The attorneys at Holm & O’Hara LLP are committed to providing comprehensive legal solutions for our estate administration clients. Equipped with extensive experience, sensitivity, and legal precision, our estate administration attorneys provide tailored legal solutions that address the unique needs of each estate.

For a comprehensive approach to estate administration, contact us today for a consultation. Let our experienced New York estate administration attorneys guide you through the legal process, ensuring peace of mind and the best possible outcome for your estate administration needs.


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