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Wills, Probate & Estate Administration2023-02-27T17:00:06+00:00

Wills, Probate & Estate Administration

Representing Clients in All Probate and Estate Matters

Whether you need a will and estate planning services, or you need to probate a will or apply to be made an administrator of an estate, or if there is a dispute concerning an estate, we have the expertise to guide you in the process.

Estate and Probate Related Services

An estate will usually involve expansive areas of law beyond just basic inheritance law. For example if a real property is an asset of the estate, the executor or administrator may require advise related to landlord-tenant and ejectments law, as well as property/title law, property tax law and responsibilities, contract/closings law, and any number of other areas of law that could effect the ultimate administration and transfer of the property. There may be assets that are owned by multiple parties, or it may be unclear who beneficiaries are or they may not be able to be located, or it can be contemplated that there will be a challenge to the naming of the administrator or executor or to the ultimate distribution. In these cases a party will need legal advice from the background of Chancery law specialization. Our real estate and Chancery law specialization allows us to guide our clients effectively, giving them the full legal picture rather than requiring them to get a different specialist attorney each time a different issue comes up in an estate or probate matter. We represent clients in:

Probate of wills. If a will names you the executor, it must be probated by the surrogate in order to become effective. The original will is required.

Probate applications to be made Administrator. If there is no will, a the deceased has died “intestate”. As such someone must volunteer to be made the administrator, and it can sometimes require the posting of a bond. There are certain statutory priorities in who can be made Administrator of an estate, but after 40 days of death, if nobody has applied who would have such a priority, then anyone with an interest can apply (including creditors).

Administration of estates. Once made executor or administrator, it is very important to protect yourself from potential future claims by doing it the right way. At the minimum the debts of the estate must be paid, a final year tax return filed as well as an estate return, and an informal accounting that all beneficiaries sign and agree to. In some cases a formal accounting is necessary to perfect and authorize the distribution of estate assets.

Estate and probate litigation. Sometimes beneficiaries cannot be located, or nobody wants to be administrator who has a statutory priority. In cases like this which involve complication, an order to show cause must be filed with the Chancery judge. Litigation can also be necessary where there is a dispute as to who should be the executor or administrator, the existence or validity of a will, the provision of an accounting, disagreement over how the estate is being managed, disagreement over the distribution of assets from the estate, the partition of jointly owned assets, or any number of other issues which may come up. These cases are all heard in Chancery court.

Wills and estate planning. It is a very, very good idea to have a will in place for when the inevitable eventually comes. Having a will makes it clear who you want to get your assets and who you want to handle the estate. For example you may want to leave money to a particular relative who is not good with paperwork, while making a relative who is good at such things the executor. Importantly, by having a proper self-proving will, you will prevent your beneficiaries from incurring the cost of having to post a bond when they probate your will. There are certain circumstances where setting up a trust will provide tax benefits by avoiding probate (generally only if you plan on leaving assets to non-immediate family members or if you will be leaving assets worth more than $11 million to immediate family members). We help guide you in setting up your estate in a way that will avoid common pitfalls that can cause huge problems for your loved ones later.

We specialize in all areas of real estate law. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Call (201) 354-9305 now to speak directly with an attorney, or feel free to e-mail your inquiry directly to office@cecininilaw.com. We welcome your questions!

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