When is probate needed in New York?

New York has a probate process similar to many other states, but before we go any further, let’s ask an important question: Do you even need to probate the estate?

Not all assets go through probate. Assets that automatically transfer to another person without a court order will avoid probate.

See: What assets go through probate?

Generally, joint accounts and accounts or assets with beneficiary designations (e.g. life insurance and retirement accounts) will avoid probate. A properly funded revocable trust will also avoid probate.

See: When is probate not necessary?

You may also qualify for a simplified probate procedure New York offers if:

  • The property is not real estate, and it has a gross value of no more than $30,000.

If the assets require probate, and they do not qualify for a simplified procedure based on the dollar values and other qualifications listed above, then you will have to go through the full probate process.

See: What is the probate process?

Don’t worry, though. You can still probate a Will or estate without an attorney, and you can still go through probate even if there is no Will.

If there is a Will, the person in charge of the probate is the person named as executor in the Will. Sometimes, however, that person is unable, or unwilling to serve as executor. When that happens, the next executor in the Will (i.e. the successor executor) can serve. If there are no successors, then the beneficiaries under the Will must appoint someone, or go to court if they cannot agree.

If there is no Will, then the heirs at law (e.g. children, surviving spouse, siblings) must agree and appoint someone to serve over the probate estate. The person appointed must consent to serve.

See: Intestate Succession - How to probate when there is no will

The first step towards getting a probate opened is completing our online intake form. If you have already started, you can always go back and finish it.


How to do probate in New York

Probate in New York is needed when someone dies with assets in their single name whether they have a will or not. If the estate is under $30,000 and does not have real estate, you can qualify for New York’s simpler probate process. You can petition the Surrogate’s Court to open an estate and officially name a personal representative, with a summary administration that requires no further court involvement.

New York’s probate process can be informal if all parties involved signed consent, and the court does not supervise every action and probate can be settled with little court interaction. If someone complains or asks for formal supervision of the estate, the court will get involved and most actions will require court approval.

At EZ-Probate, we can walk you through every detail of New York probate laws and the probate process. We’ll be with you until probate is over.