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Is There a Deadline or Time Limit to Claiming an Inheritance or Probating a Will in Westchester County?

The Deadlines You Need to Know

Every area of the law, including estate law, has some sort of time limitations when certain things have to take place. When it comes to probating a will, the time limits that exist depend on what it is that you want to do. There are some areas of estate law where there are stricter deadlines than others. The best way to be sure that you get everything done on time when it comes to your estate matter is to make sure that you have the help of a Westchester County estate attorney.

An executor or administrator of an estate has the responsibility of submitting an application before the Westchester Surrogate’s Court to have the estate probated. There is not a specific deadline under the law as to how long an executor or administrator has to submit this application, but it is commonly understood that it must be submitted in a reasonable time. If the application is not submitted in a reasonable time, the executor or administrator can run in to legal issues of their own with creditors and with beneficiaries of the estate, since officially nothing can be done with the estate until this application is submitted and letters testamentary or letters of administration are issued. This is why an executor who files late will typically have to provide an affidavit to the court explaining the reason for the lateness.

For those who are contesting the will in some way or is claiming an inheritance, there is an extremely limited time period to give notice of his or her intent to do so. When the executor or administrator files an application for the court to admit the estate to probate, they have to serve a citation on those heirs or beneficiaries who do not sign a waiver to the proceedings. This citation will have a return date on it for a hearing on whether or not the will will be admitted to probate. If a person does not attend this hearing, it will be considered a waiver of any objections they might have had to the will. Missing this hearing often means losing out on the ability to contest the will for good.

Once the will is admitted to probate, the administrator or executor must act to have the estate closed in a reasonable amount of time. Creditors are supposed to submit their claims within seven months of the letters of administration or letters testamentary being issued and the rest of the estate is to be handed out within a reasonable time after that. If an executor or administrator does not stick to these deadlines, they could be facing legal problems from creditors of the estate or heirs and beneficiaries.

The best way to avoid problems with deadlines is to make sure that you have the assistance of a Westchester estate attorney whenever you have an estate matter. If you are an executor or administrator, an attorney can assist you in making sure all deadlines are met and all of the proper paperwork and notices are filed. If you are contesting a will, a Westchester County estate attorney will make sure that you have the strongest possible case and are able to protect your rights in the best possible way.

There are many other deadlines in estates, such as filing for an elective share, tax deadlines, and court-mandated deadlines. If you are looking for a Westchester County estate attorney to help you not miss any deadlines and get the correct documents filed on time, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (914) 293-2043.