There are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstands about probate in New York. It is often put out there that probate is this long, drawn-out process that is complicated to get through, but that is not always the reality. The process is often a formality needed to ensure the legal transfer of assets.
According to New York Life, the county in which you live will begin the probate proceedings. Your family should then produce your will. If you did not have a will, then one of your close family members will act as the administrator of your estate in front of the court. The court may also appoint someone to the role.
A document must be filed to start the process and the administrator must appear in court. It is important to note that once probate starts, the will and the estate become public information. This means anyone can get access to it.
Once the process starts, your estate is assessed and inventoried. The next step is paying the debts you owe. Finally, the process wraps up with transferring remaining assets to your family. There may be waiting periods involved, which can make the process longer, and any disagreements will draw things out as well.
However, the process usually can be quite easy and quick if your family and others do not disagree with the distribution of your assets and handling of your estate. Typically, the smaller your estate, the faster probate goes. This information is for education only and is not intended to be legal advice.