How Probate Laws Work in New York

When a person dies in New York, their estate must be managed and distributed as stated in the will. This isn’t something that can wait until the grieving process has been completed, but it must be handled in a timely manner.

The estate must be brought before the court in what is known as the probate process. New York has its own statutes for how probate is to be handled. Anyone involved in the estate should have a basic understanding of this process and what it entails.

Is Probate Required in New York?

Probate is necessary for estates in New York. It is the process by which those assets are transferred to the heirs. State probate laws provide guidance and requirements for how it is accomplished.

How Do You Avoid Probate in New York?

It is possible to avoid taking an estate through probate in New York. To accomplish this, you must plan ahead and create a revocable living trust to hold the estate and all its assets. With a trust, the owner can still manage their assets until their death. At that point, the beneficiary of the trust will receive the entire estate without going through probate.

Some assets may avoid probate if they are owned jointly by more than one person. The surviving owners would become the owners of the entire asset. If the asset has a beneficiary named, it would transfer ownership upon the death of the owner without the need for probate. For example, a life insurance policy would automatically go to the person named as the beneficiary. Other assets which may be handled this way include checking and savings accounts, securities and retirement accounts.

Can an Executor of an Estate in New York be Compensated?

Yes, a person acting as the executor may receive compensation for their time as well as being reimbursed for any expenses they incur as they do their job. This may include the cost of travel to where an asset is located or hiring an accountant or appraiser to help with the estate.

How Much Does an Executor in New York Get Paid?

The executor is allowed payment based on a commission for the value of the estate.

This scale is laid out in the New York Consolidated Laws, Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act – SCP 2307.

How Long Does Probate in New York Take?

Even a small estate will take some time to be settled. Expect it to be at least six months before the assets may be distributed to the heirs and probate to be closed. However, one year is a more likely timeline for most estates. This time can be extended even more if there are delays, such as an heir contesting the will or disputes with creditors. Some estates are open for years as issues are dealt with.

Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate in New York?

Most estates will need to go through New York probate, but they may have the option of small estate administration. To qualify, they must be valued at less than $50,000. This process is also called a voluntary administration proceeding. With this method, the court doesn’t need to provide oversight for every step of the process, which allows it to go quicker.

Does a Will Have to Be Probated in New York?

Once a person dies and the will is presented, it must be filed with the court in the county where the person lived. However, it doesn’t need to be probated unless assets for probate are valued at more than $50,000. This amount doesn’t include any assets that automatically go to the beneficiary.

Settling an Estate in New York

Settling an estate in New York is much the same as in any other state. However, the state has its own laws, which govern the timelines and what forms are to be used. If you’re involved with an estate, it is important to know the laws for New York. Here is some basic information about the steps to going through probate with an estate.

These are the main steps that must be followed for probate to be completed. You can have an estate attorney help you if you are unsure about what to do.

How Long Do You Have to File Probate After a Death in New York?

The law doesn’t give a specific timeline for filing probate, but it should be handled in a timely manner. It’s important to file as soon as possible to begin the process, which can take several months to complete.

Probate Court in New York

The Surrogate Court handles all probate proceedings in New York. There is a court for each county in the state. You can visit the New York Courts website to find the court for the county where the decedent lived: The Courts, General Info – N.Y. State Courts (

Probate Code in New York

Probate statutes are found in The Laws of New York, Consolidated Laws on the state senate website Consolidated Laws of New York, Estates, Powers & Trusts – EPT | NY State Senate (