Typically, how long does the Estate Administration process last?

Beginning from your appointment as the Executor, the estate must remain open for at least seven months. Under New York law, this period is known as the creditor’s period. This period could be considerably longer if it is larger estate, requiring the filing of federal or state tax returns or if someone wants to contest the will.

What factors could increase the cost and time associated with administering the estate?

There could be many factors that potentially increase the amount of time and cost of the estate administration. Some of the most common factors include, minor beneficiaries, incapacitated beneficiaries, litigation, estate tax filing requirements, creditor’s claims, problems proving the validity of the Will to the Court’s satisfaction, charitable beneficiaries, accounting proceedings, and assets which are difficult to value and/or distribute fairly.

If I am named as the Executor under the will, after the death of the testator, how do I begin to administer the estate?

To begin the estate administration process, you must first file a petition with the appropriate Surrogate’s Court. Once the Surrogate’s Court receives the petition, they will determine if the Will is valid and if you are fit for appointment as a fiduciary.

Is the estate required to pay any fees to the Surrogate’s Court?

Yes, each proceeding commenced in the Surrogate’s Court will require the payment of a fee. This fee will vary based on the size of the estate and can range between $45 to 1,250.

Do Beneficiaries pay an income tax on their inheritance?

No, beneficiaries do not pay an income tax on their inheritance however, they are responsible to pay their share of any taxes on the post mortem income earned on their inheritance.

Who may challenge the Will?

Although not common, the Will may be challenged by certain family members who survive the decedent called the distributees. Distributees are determined in the following order: spouse and children, parents, siblings and nieces and nephews, grandparents and 1st cousins, then great-grandparent and 1st cousins once removed. Also certain persons unfavorably affected by the Will may challenge the Will.