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New York Probate Timeline – A Sample Case Study

This is a sample probate timeline to give you an approximate idea of how New York probate timeline would proceed. An estate can take between 6 months and several years to close. This timeline is based on the author’s experience as an estate lawyer experienced in probating estates. It’s important to realize that the months are approximate, and the tasks often overlap.

~ Month 1-3

  • Read the will, if there is one.
  • Determine who will be the personal representative – it will either be the executor mentioned in the will, or the person who everyone is comfortable with.
  • Get death certificates.
  • Get all the necessary waivers and consents.
  • File a petition with Surrogate’s Court to start the probate process. In many circumstances, getting appointed can take considerably longer or not happen at all. As I said earlier, this New York probate timeline is approximate.

~ Month 3-6

After obtaining Letters of Administration from the Court, the personal representative begins acting.

  • Take a preliminary inventory of the estate and make a preliminary list of creditors.
  • Open and inventory the safe deposit box.
  • Notify all possible creditors.
  • Determine which creditors are legitimate.
  • Consult with an Accountant regarding taxes. The Accountant will prepare Federal Estate Tax return, Form 706, if applicable. Final income taxes also need to be filed – 1040 and 1041.

~ Month 6

At this point, the value and extent of the estate should be known.

  • Inventory of the assets needs to be filed.
  • Get property appraised, if needed.

~ Month 7

Decide which property should be sold and which beneficiary gets which asset. Most estates need seven months before property can be distributed.

~ Month 8

  • Close out creditor claims.
  • Provide preliminary accounting to beneficiaries.
  • Finish negotiating with creditors.
  • Pay creditor and tax bills.

~ Month 9

This is the deadline for filing a renunciation, if needed (consult an attorney well in advance). File petition on final accounting with the Surrogate’s Court. Prepare Beneficiary Agreement.

~ Month 11 and on

Distribute assets to beneficiaries. File Petition to be discharged as personal representative. Close the estate.

This sample probate timeline is a timeframe that is approximate and not guaranteed. Estates take longer if substantial or complicated property is involved or if there is an ongoing business. It will take even longer if there is a disagreement.

You can call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233 to discuss your estate administration or probate proceeding.