What to do When You Disagree With The Outcome
Appeals are common in all types of legal cases, and Surrogate’s Court cases are no exceptions. Appeals are seen when one party to a case does not agree with the outcome of that case and asks a higher court to review it to determine if the right decision was made in the lower court. For Westchester County, Surrogate’s Court appeals would go to the Supreme Court in the Second Division, located in Brooklyn.
When a judgment is made and officially entered by the Surrogate’s Court, a party has 30 days to file the proper paperwork with the court of appeals to have the appeal heard. While a full 30 days may be available, that does not mean that waiting a full 30 days is a good idea. In fact, paperwork should be submitted as soon as possible. One good reason for this is that, if the forms are submitted at the last moment and are rejected for an error or similar reason, there would be no time left to fix and resubmit them.
In order to be able to appeal a case, a party must be able to establish that they have standing to do so. This would mean that they would have to have some sort of legal interest in the outcome of the case. For a Surrogate’s Court case, parties with standing are usually named beneficiaries of the will, legal heirs of the decedent or the decedent’s creditors.
Appeals courts rarely decide on the facts on the case, but rather decide whether or not the original court interpreted current law properly. The appellate court does not take witness testimony and such, but will review the records in the case, including transcripts of proceedings or written decisions by the trial court judge. The decision will be made on that record. Along with the record, an appeal would consist of a brief, which would argue the reasoning behind the appeal, and possibly oral arguments, which would involve the attorney arguing in front of a panel of judges about the case.
Each district in New York has its own rules and guidelines as to how everything is done. Because of this, you should not attempt to do an appeal on your own. A Westchester estate attorney will be much more experienced when it comes to how an appeal should be properly done and what the strongest arguments would be in your particular case. If you disagree with a decision that was made while a loved one’s estate was being probated, call a Westchester estate attorney to handle your appeal right away. Call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (914) 293-2043.