Probate, Administration Proceeding, & Estate Litigation

What Is Probate?

When a person dies (known as a Decedent), leaves a Last Will and Testament, and there are assets that do not pass by operation of law, one must undergo a legal process known as probate. Probate is the legal process to have a Decedent’s Will confirmed by the Court by the Surrogate’s Court. In other words, there has to be a determination that the Decedent’s Last Will and Testament is valid.

What Is An Administration Proceeding?

When a Decedent dies without Last Will and Testament, they are described as have died “intestate”. When a person dies intestate and there are assets that do not pass by operation of law, one must undergo a legal process known as Administration Proceeding. An Administration Proceeding is the legal process to have a Decedent’s assets distributed under the rules of intestacy. In New York, the rules of governing Intestate Succession could be found under EPTL 4-1.1.

What Is Estate Litigation?

Estate litigation is a general term for any type of dispute in either a probate or administration proceeding. While there are a number of reasons that an interested party may initiate litigation, estate litigation generally falls into 2 broad categories: Will Contests and Fiduciary related Litigation.

A Will contests describes challenges based on the validity of a Last Will and Testament (ie did the Testator have capacity? Was there any undue influence? Were the required New York specific formalities followed?)

Fiduciary Related litigation describes challenges or disputes over how fiduciaries have administered the estate. A fiduciary is an individual who has the authority to act in the best interests of another person. Common types of fiduciaries disputes may include: Breach of fiduciary duties,

Accounting irregularities, Disputes between Beneficiaries on how assets are distributed, and etc.

How to Avoid an Estate Litigation

In order to avoid any Court intervention, whether it is a Probate, Administration Proceeding, and/or Estate litigation it is important that you contact us to schedule an appointment with an estate planning attorney to create a good estate plan.

New York Estate Tax Rate

The estate tax rate for New York is graduated. It starts at 3.06% and goes up to 16%.

Taxable Estate*Base Taxes PaidMarginal RateRate Threshold**
$1 – $500,000$03.06%$1
$500,000 – $1 million$15,3005.0%$500,000
$1 million – $1.5 million$40,3005.5%$1 million
$1.5 million – $2.1 million$67,8006.5%$1.5 million
$2.1 million – $2.6 million$106,8008.0%$2.1 million
$2.6 million – $3.1 million$146,8008.8%$2.6 million
$3.1 million – $3.6 million$190,8009.6%$3.1 million
$3.6 million – $4.1 million$238,80010.4%$3.6 million
$4.1 million – $5.1 million$290,80011.2%$4.1 million
$5.1 million – $6.1 million$402,80012.0%$5.1 million
$6.1 million – $7.1 million$522,80012.8%$6.1 million
$7.1 million – $8.1 million$650,80013.6%$7.1 million
$8.1 million – $9.1 million$786,80014.4%$8.1 million
$9.1 million – $10.1 million$930,80015.2%$9.1 million
Over $10.1 million$1.082 million16%$10.1 million

*The taxable estate is the amount above the exemption of $6.11 million.
**The rate threshold is the point at which the marginal estate tax rate goes into effect.

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