New Jersey & New York Probate Attorneys

Wills & Probate

Wills and Probate Legal Services in New York and New Jersey

Navigating the complexities of wills and probate can be daunting without the right legal help. Milvidskiy Law Group P.C. provides legal services in the area of probate and estate administration for New York and New Jersey residents. Our comprehensive approach covers every aspect of estate planning and administration.

Understanding Wills: The Foundation of Estate Planning

A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the care of any dependents after your death. It is a critical tool for estate planning, enabling you to make informed decisions about your estate’s future.

Requirements for a Valid Will

For a will to be considered valid, it must meet several criteria: it must be written by someone of legal age and sound mind, signed by the testator, and witnessed by at least two people who do not stand to benefit from the will.

The validity of a will hinges on several legal requirements, including the age and mental capacity of the testator, the presence of witnesses, and adherence to state-specific laws regarding its execution.

Mental Capacity and Witness Requirements

A testator must be of sound mind, understanding the nature of their estate and the implications of their decisions. The will must be signed in the presence of at least two impartial witnesses who can attest to the testator’s capacity and voluntariness.

Validity and Proper Execution in New Jersey and New York

Both New Jersey and New York have specific requirements for a will to be considered valid. In New Jersey, the will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the document. New York has similar requirements, with additional provisions for holographic (handwritten) and nuncupative (oral) wills under certain circumstances.

Both states mandate specific procedures to ensure a will’s validity. These include the testator’s signature, the concurrent signatures of witnesses, and, in certain cases, notarization. Understanding these nuances is crucial for creating a legally binding document.

In New Jersey, the law requires not only the presence of witnesses but also that the will be signed by the testator. New York allows for certain exceptions, including holographic and nuncupative wills under specific circumstances, broadening the scope of what can be considered a valid will.

Why and When Probate is Required

When there is a will, probate is usually required to administer the estate. Probate is the legal process of verifying a will’s validity and administering the deceased’s estate. It is required to ensure lawful distribution of the estate according to the deceased’s wishes or state law if no will exists.

Probate and Estate Administration

This legal process ensures the orderly transfer of assets from the decedent’s estate to the beneficiaries. It includes validating the will, appointing an executor, assessing the estate’s value, inventorying the deceased’s assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the rightful beneficiaries or heirs according to the will or state law.

Steps in the Probate and Estate Administration Process

The process begins with filing the will for probate in the appropriate court, followed by the appointment of an executor. The executor then takes an inventory of the estate, pays off debts and taxes, and distributes the remaining assets. This process can vary in complexity based on the estate’s size and the will’s instructions.

When There Is No Will: Intestacy Laws (Intestate Succession)

In the absence of a will, state intestacy laws determine the distribution of the estate. These laws prioritize close family members, such as spouses and children, but can leave out non-traditional relationships or specific wishes unaddressed.

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Testamentary Trusts and Probate

A testamentary trust is created within a will and becomes effective upon the testator’s death. It specifies how the assets are to be managed and distributed over time, often used to provide for minors or individuals with special needs.

Probating a Will with Testamentary Trust

Probating such a will follows the standard process but includes the additional step of setting up the trust according to the will’s terms. This involves appointing a trustee and transferring assets into the trust for management and distribution as directed by the will.

Setting Up the Testamentary Trust

The probate court’s approval is required to establish the trust, after which the trustee assumes responsibility for managing and distributing the assets according to the trust’s terms.

Ancillary Probate

Ancillary probate is necessary when the deceased owned property in a state other than where they lived. This secondary probate process ensures that out-of-state assets are distributed according to the will or intestacy laws.

Legal Challenges in the Probate Process

Challenges such as claims of lack of testamentary capacity or undue influence can complicate the probate process. Contestants may argue that the testator was not of sound mind or was coerced into making decisions, necessitating legal intervention to resolve these disputes.

Claims and Caveats

A caveat is a formal objection to a will’s validity, filed with the probate court. Handling such claims requires detailed legal knowledge to navigate the court’s requirements and defend the will’s integrity.

Managing Creditors and Estate Obligations

The estate must settle debts with creditors before distributing assets to beneficiaries. The executor plays a crucial role in notifying creditors, paying valid claims, and disputing any unfounded demands.

Part of the executor’s duties involves settling the deceased’s debts. This includes notifying creditors, verifying claims, and ensuring debts are paid from the estate’s assets before distribution to beneficiaries.

Prioritizing Claims

Creditors’ claims are prioritized according to legal statutes, with some debts being settled before others. This process ensures fair treatment of all parties and compliance with legal obligations.

Executor Responsibilities and Protections

The executor must navigate legal, financial, and ethical considerations, balancing the need for efficient administration with the requirement to act fairly and transparently toward all interested parties. Executors are entrusted with significant responsibilities, including managing the estate’s assets, filing taxes, and distributing assets. In some cases, a surety bond may be required to protect the estate from mismanagement, though waivers are sometimes possible.

Rights and Protections for Heirs and Beneficiaries

Heirs and beneficiaries have rights under both New York and New Jersey law, including receiving assets in a timely manner and being informed about the estate’s administration. Special provisions apply to beneficiaries with disabilities, minors, and those with special needs, ensuring their interests are safeguarded.

Beneficiaries with Special Needs and Disabilities

Special provisions may be necessary to ensure that beneficiaries with special needs or disabilities are properly cared for without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits.

Minor Beneficiaries

Minors cannot directly inherit assets, so a trust or guardianship may be necessary to manage their inheritance until they reach adulthood.

Estate Accounting

Estate accounting involves a detailed report of how the estate’s assets have been managed and distributed, providing transparency to beneficiaries and the court. It is a critical step before closing the estate, providing a record that can be audited by beneficiaries and the court.

How to Close the Estate

Closing the estate requires completing all administrative tasks, including paying debts, distributing the assets, and filing a final accounting with the court. Once approved, the executor can formally close the estate.

Conclusion

Navigating wills, probate, and estate administration requires meticulous attention to legal details and a deep understanding of state laws. Milvidskiy Law Group P.C. is dedicated to guiding individuals and families in New York and New Jersey through these complex processes, ensuring that your estate planning needs are met with professionalism and compassion. Whether creating a will, navigating probate, or managing the challenges of estate administration, our expertise ensures your peace of mind and the secure future of your legacy.

Milvidskiy Law Group P.C. is dedicated to guiding you through each step of the wills and probate process with expertise and compassion. Our goal is to ensure your estate planning and administration needs are met with the highest legal standards, providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf. There are primarily two types: a Financial POA, which allows someone to handle your financial affairs, and a Healthcare POA, which grants someone the authority to make medical decisions for you if you’re incapacitated.

Trusts can be broadly categorized into two types: Living Trusts and Testamentary Trusts. Living Trusts are established during a person’s lifetime, either as revocable or irrevocable. Revocable Trusts can be changed or terminated by the trustor during their lifetime, while Irrevocable Trusts cannot. Testamentary Trusts are created as part of a will and only take effect after the death of the individual.

A will is a document that specifies how your assets should be distributed after your death. It becomes effective only upon death and must go through probate. A trust takes effect as soon as it’s created and can manage assets during your lifetime and after death. Trusts often avoid probate, offering a faster, private way to distribute assets.

Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s will is validated, and their assets are distributed under court supervision. It can be time-consuming and costly. Probate can be avoided by creating a living trust, owning property jointly, designating beneficiaries on retirement and bank accounts, and through gifts.

Yes, Charitable Trusts are designed for charitable giving. Two common types are Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs) and Charitable Lead Trusts (CLTs). CRTs allow you to receive income for a period of time, with the remainder going to charity. CLTs, conversely, give income to a charity for a set period, with the remaining assets eventually going to your beneficiaries.

A Special Needs Trust is designed to benefit an individual with disabilities by providing for their care and needs without disqualifying them from receiving government assistance. It ensures that the beneficiary can still receive benefits like Medicaid or SSI while also receiving funds from the trust for expenses not covered by those benefits.

A Durable Power of Attorney remains in effect even if you become incapacitated, ensuring that the person you’ve appointed can continue to act on your behalf. A General Power of Attorney, however, becomes invalid if you become incapacitated or mentally incompetent.

A Healthcare Proxy appoints someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so. A Living Will, on the other hand, provides specific instructions on what type of medical treatment you want or do not want in case you’re unable to communicate your wishes.

Yes, certain types of trusts, such as Bypass Trusts or Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs), can be used to minimize or avoid estate taxes. These trusts help manage and protect assets from being fully subject to estate taxes, thus preserving more of your estate for your beneficiaries.

An Irrevocable Trust offers superior asset protection compared to a Revocable Trust. Once you transfer assets into an Irrevocable Trust, you relinquish control over those assets, effectively removing them from your estate. This makes them inaccessible to creditors and legal judgments against you. In contrast, assets in a Revocable Trust are still considered part of your estate and can be subject to creditors and legal actions.

What Our Clients Are Saying

ExcellentMilvidskiy Law Group P.C.5.0 Based on 62 reviews from ★★★★★ I cannot write enough good things about this firm. They were prompt and effective in resolving my issue. Their team is the best. They get work done and at a very reasonable cost.Olga I.Olga I. ★★★★★ Several years after the Law Group prepared my Will and other documents, I contacted them with several questions. I was please to find that they were ready and willing to answer all my questions and to reassure me that, since there were no changes in my situation, there was no need to update any of the documents. I was also please to learn that will be happy to answer any questions I may have in the future.George T.George T. ★★★★★ We are new clients of the Milvidskiy Law Group PC.Mr. Milvidskiy and staff are wonderful. They listen to us regarding our Family Estate Plan., he reviews our Plan and where he feels important and necessary, he gives his input. When we have any questions or concern, he explains the answers to ue, patiently. We are happy with their professional services.William T.William T. ★★★★★ Andrey helped me with my family's estate planning. He is very knowledgeable, respectful, was very professional throughout the entire process. I am very pleased with his services .Thank you.Irina MIrina M ★★★★★ My experience with the Milvidskiy Law Group was a positive one. They were always available to answer any of my questions. If I did have to leave a message or email a question/concern they would always respond back in a reasonable amount of time. I would recommend this Law group!Teresa W.Teresa W. ★★★★★ My husband and I met with Mr. Milvidskiy yesterday at his Paramus, NJ office after listening to his online webinar regarding estate planning. First, I must say that prior to the meeting I spoke with two of his assistants to prepare and be able to efficiently address our concerns. Both were pleasant, set a very professional tone and assured me that this complementary meeting had no strings attached. Since it it unusual for us to meet about such important matters with a person we found on the internet, we wanted to proceed cautiously.Well, this was my takeaway. Mr. Milvidskiy is a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in the complexities of estate planning and elder law in at least NJ and NY. He is a consummate professional and did not in any way try to "sell" us his services. In fact, he told us we didn't need him at this point, gave us a couple of useful ideas, and told us we were welcome to contact him in the future should our circumstances change.We were very happy to have met him, and would pass his name on to our daughter, should she ever need his counsel, as our heir. IMO, there is no substitute for having a knowledgeable person of integrity to turn to in planning important quality of life decisions. We would recommend him highly, with confidence.Steve B.Steve B. ★★★★★ Attorney Milvidskiy is the best. He truly listens to your concerns, wants and needs. He explained everything to us and made sure we understood every aspect .I felt like family instead of a client. He is the best attorney I ever worked with. Highly recommend !Inna K.Inna K. ★★★★★ Mr. Milvidskiy and his staffs are so professional and helpful all the time. I recommend them highly to anyone.Phoebi L.Phoebi L. ★★★★★ Everyone was so professional and provided very valuable information about estate planning an elder law that we needed for our family. I would highly recommend this firm they make you feel like family and truly care about their clients.Diana HDiana H ★★★★★ We were very impressed with the serviced we received from the Milvidskiy Firm. They were responsive and very professional. They delivered as promised. We highly recommend them! Their fees are quite reasonable.Rose F.Rose F. ★★★★★ Milvidskiy team is the best. I’m so happy I found them in my time of need. From the very first meeting with the attorney I immediately knew there was someone to look out for my interest. Throughout the entire process, I was able to rely on them, sometimes receiving replies to my emails after hours or even on weekends. Everyone who works there is very knowledgeable but is also compassionate. They genuinely want to help and went above and beyond helping my family. Thanks to Andrey and his team, our situation is much better now.Alex C.Alex C. ★★★★★ I wanted to thank the Milvidskiy Group for making our Estate planning easy to understand with the help of their guidance. Laura Berkin and Pamela Carrea were great resources if we needed questions answered to aided us in the process. I would highly recommend this law firm to handle your estate planning. Thank YouPatricia P.Patricia P. ★★★★★ I had a wonderful experience dealing with them, they are extremely professional and friendly. 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Mr. Milvidskiy began working on my plan by listening, asking questions and fully understanding my objectives. With great care and attention to detail, he created a strategy that fulfilled my wishes and protected my loved ones. Mr. Milvidskiy is not only skilled in his work but compassionate and caring. This attitude is reflected throughout his staff who are responsive to requests and are well-versed in the highest levels of customer service. I do not know anyone who enjoys thinking about wills, trusts and advanced directives, yet they are essential to the well-being of family and finances. The Milvidskiy Law Group makes these important questions easy to ponder as they guide the decision-making process. I am so happy that this task is accomplished and the peace of mind that I have is priceless.Venus M.Venus M. ★★★★★ The Milvidskiy team was incredible and I am so grateful for their timeliness, compassion, and patience during such a difficult time for our family. During our time at the hospital, many people talked to us instead of speaking with us, however, their legal team was the exception. I am very impressed with how they navigated the tense situation with some of our family members and felt that their empathy was heartwarming. I will be forever grateful for their help ensuring our grandfather's wishes were listened to and will be honored.Thomas B.Thomas B. ★★★★★ My aunt used the services of Milvidskiy firm, and it was an amazing experience. Everyone is very professional and not trying to sell you a service, but rather help you to find a right solution.Ada AAda A ★★★★★ Mr.Mildviskiy went into details in term of our situation and our needs and designed the will which seemed best for our case.The follow up and additional questions were promptly answered and clarified.No boiler plate answers.Yves M.Yves M. ★★★★★ My wife and I considered other attorneys and even met some of them. We decided to use the Milvidskiy Law Group after our initial meeting. Everyone we spoke to our met with, was courteous, friendly, caring, and professional, from the receptionist to Mr Milvidskiy. We recommend you speak to or meet with this firm before making your decision on which estate planning attorney to use.Randy K.Randy K. ★★★★★ Estate Planning can be a complicated and technical endeavor for most individuals like myself and my wife. In additon, finding a competent Estate Planner can be equally difficult. However from the outset we were quickly assured that we had selected the right firm to handle all our Estate needs. Our attorney,Andre, and his assistant, Pamela, emphasized, that in order for a plan to be successful, it must be understood in it's entirerty and it needs to meet all the individual concerns of the client. In that vein technical aspects were explained in laymans terms and all our questions were not only encourgaged but answered fully to our satisfaction. We've had experiences with other law firms but by far we found the Milvidskiy Law Group to be Professional, Trustworthy, Experienced In the Law and Genuinely interested in the welfare of their clients. A1 in our book!!! Sal & Theresa MinieriSal M.Sal M. ★★★★★ They have been much more than a law firm. They held my hand. Andrey and his team helped me navigate the world of elder care for my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. They guided me through Medicaid and other issues most people are not familiar with. I would like to thank the attorney and his team for your patience and for compassion.Tory BTory B ★★★★★ I want to share my story or experience with Milvidskiy Law Group. A representative of the Law Group was ask to speak at my Church about Elder Law and how it applies to those of us that is of a certain age getting up in life. I was blown away about what I heard and make a decision to look in further more regarding what will happen to me if I’m in a position during illness or allocating personal possessions and can’t make a decision for myself. If you are elderly or have elderly parents I urge you to visit this Milvidskiy Law Firm because you will not regret what a clear and concise explanations of all your questions.It’s important to have plans in place and makes your wishes clear when you are not in a position to make decisions to avoid family feuds.My experience with everyone at this Law Firm was Professional, courteous, kind , experience and willing to answer all my questions that was pose to them. Finally I just want to say that I have peace in the decision I have made , knowing I have everything in place now.Anne FAnne F.Anne F. ★★★★★ Milvidskiy Law Group checks all the boxes for what you would want as you enter the complex world of irrevocable trusts. Mr Milvidskiy's exceptional listening skills, clear and concise communication skills, ability to translate complex concepts into simple examples/illustrations, and his visible commitment to overall 'attention to detail' excellence for himself and his staff has made this experience one I would highly recommend. His staff has excellent follow up, organizational, and communication skills. He also provided his book he wrote to me early on in the process as well as conducted a information rich webinar that acted as a strong foundation that quickly got us on the same page across many dimensions. As the trustee for my parents trust, I feel my parents and I are fully supported by this excellent law firm as we move forward with any ongoing management of the trust. Big thank you to the team at Milvidskiy Law Group.Christopher S.Christopher S. ★★★★★ Highly recommend using the services of Milvidskiy Law Group! We were pleased with the level of service, knowledge and forward thinking. Mr. Milvidskiy offered creative and thoughtful ideas for us. Thank you!Elena A.Elena A. ★★★★★ My husband and I had a very positive experience working with the Milvidskiy Law Group. They were very knowledge and professional and an overall pleasure to work with. I strongly recommend using this law firm.barbara W.barbara W. ★★★★★ I was very impressed with the expertise of their attorneys and excellent customer service. It’s very rare these days to come across such compassionate people. Even though I realized how busy they were, every time I called, they made me feel like my family and I were the most important. They went above and beyond to help my family. Their professional and friendly staff was always there to help and answer my questions, which I had many, and I was never asked to pay a penny more for all the extra time I took. I wholeheartedly recommend this firm to anyone in need of an elder law attorney, whether for themselves or their parents.Alina U.Alina U. ★★★★★ Very knowledgeable team, asking about all your needs and concerning questions. Mr. Milvidesky has assembled the best team of professionals to address the most complicated issues in favor of their clints. Thanks you all.Harendra G.Harendra G. ★★★★★ Milvidskiy law group is the best. the ladies that work there are alway very helpful. also the lawyers and their assistance are amazing. i would highly recommend this law firm.Sal B.Sal B. ★★★★★ My husband and I couldn't be happier with the services provided by Andrey Milvidskiy and his associate, Pamela. We were looking for an attorney that we could relate to in formulating our Estate Plan to preserve our assets for which we’ve worked hard all of our lives. Having been a paralegal for over 20 years, I researched “elder care” attorneys for several months before we consulted with Andrey. Andrey provided guidance throughout the process of developing our Estate Plan, which put us at complete ease. His expertise in the field of elder law and estate planning coupled with his business and financial sense is unparalleled. I can’t recommend this law firm highly enough.Ron & Evelyn ColvinHackensackSeaside Q.Seaside Q. ★★★★★ Great experience great lawyers if you have a trust fund to set up these are the lawyers to see very satisfiedJerry H.Jerry H.js_loader

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