Surrogate’s Court Practice: A Guide to Probate and Estate Administration in New York

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Course Information

Time 75 Minutes
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Wills, Trusts, & Estates

Course Description

Every matter in New York Surrogate’s Court starts the same way:  “Somebody died, and then….” After that, the three basic questions in every case are 1. Is there a Will?; 2. Is the situation friendly, or unfriendly?; 3. Do you represent the fiduciary, or someone who is impacted by the fiduciary’s actions? 

Surrogate’s Court is divided into four main departments: Probate, Administration, Accounting, and Miscellaneous. This program will provide a practical and detailed look at the function of each department, and how to practice in each. 

This course will benefit attorneys new to the practice of Estate Administration and Probate in New York State. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the functions of each department, including what documents to file and where
  2. Discuss common scenarios and practice challenges in each Surrogate’s Court Department
  3. Analyze probate and estate matters, and plan for proper representation

Credit Information

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Barry Seidel

Barry Seidel & Associates, Attorneys at Law

I’ve been in my own practice since 1982.  I started as a general practitioner, but then decided to focus on probate matters.  I handle probate situations with a view toward bringing things to an organized, proper, legal conclusion.  Each case is unique and presents its own set of facts and circumstances.

Each case involves people who have some interest in the deceased person’s affairs.

If someone has the right to be appointed to handle the deceased person’s affairs, I assist them by taking the necessary legal steps to secure their appointment.  When there is a Will, this person is called an Executor.  When there is no Will, this person is called an Administrator.  Either way, becoming an Administrator or Executor requires a proceeding in New York’s Surrogate’s Court.

In a friendly situation, this can be as simple as identifying the necessary parties and having the correct papers filed with the Court.  As one might imagine, not all situations are simple and not all situations are friendly.  These are in Surrogate’s Court too, and follow their own particular path, depending on the parties involved, the assets, the documentation, and the action (or sometimes inaction) of the parties involved.

Many Estates have issues beyond the initial appointment of an Executor or Administrator.  Very often there is real estate to address, or tax issues, or creditor claims, or businesses to resolve, or other assets requiring professional treatment.  I am experienced in all these areas, and any other legal issue that may affect an Estate.

I treat clients as I would want to be treated by a professional person:  with clarity, transparency, honesty and fairness.