LADYLAWYER : Hello, Thanks for choosing Justanswer.com! I look forward to helping you with legal information today.
LADYLAWYER : In NY, a small estate is the estate of an individual who dies leaving personal property having a gross value of $30,000 or less. If this were the case, I would say an attorney might not be necessary. But it sounds like the estate value is going to be over this amount, and as such, you are going to need to do a formal full court administration. I am totally for people doing things themselves, but this would not be something I would recommend to do that on.
LADYLAWYER : Because, in many cases, it may be impossible at the beginning of the process to foresee what questions or issues may arise, it may be advisable to seek the assistance of counsel. You can find probate attorneys in your area by going here: www.martindale.com. If you are going to proceed without a lawyer, start by calling the appropriate Surrogate’s Court for information regarding the necessary forms. Please remember that while court staff may provide legal information, they are prohibited by law from giving legal advice. Forms and instructions are also available at www.nycourts.gov/forms/surrogates.
LADYLAWYER : Happy to answer any other specific questions you might have about this!
LADYLAWYER : I strive for excellent service and I hope I provided that for you today; however, if you have any further questions, concerns, or need further clarification, please just reply to me here and I will get back to you just as soon as possible! There may be periods where I am helping other customers or may not be online but I will always get back to you within 24 hours. If you have no further questions at this time, would you kindly leave me a positive service rating before you go? Thank you so much!
I read online that we could possibly take care of transferring the title of the house on our own by contacting the tax office and seeing what they would want for documentation. Is this true? And if I were able to do this, could I settle the rest of the estate through the small estate process, which would be less than the $30k.
Also, does it make any difference how long ago the person died? My grandfather died in Sept of 2011 and my grandmother in July 2012. Neither had a will and none of their children has stepped up to get this taken care of. I would like to help make this as painless a process as I can for someone to get this wrapped up. Also none of the children, nor myself live in NY, so this is also a problem to do things long distance.
LADYLAWYER : No, unfortunately, the house will need to be probated so that a special warranty deed can be granted to the heirs. Futher, if your grandmother passed a year ago, and your grandfather the year before that, their taxes are overdue, both federal and I am sure property taxes as well. The longer anyone waits to file them, the more penalties they will incur, meaning the government can take their money or lien their home. An estate or probate attorney will be able to file all these documents for you. You may very well find one who will take payment after the estate is settled so that you do not have to put your money up front to pay them.
LADYLAWYER : The other issue I see though is that as a grandchild, you are not in line to get anything out of the estate. Everything will go to the children, even if you step up and get things taken care of. I am not sure you want to go through all the hassle for someone else to get all the benefit, but maybe you do. It is not a problem doing this long distance at all. Most probated estates are done this way.
LADYLAWYER : Happy to keep assisting you if you should need it. Thanks!
We have been paying the taxes and insurance on the house, so that is not an issue. We have had a hard time finding a lawyer that is willing to help us, this is why I was trying to do what I could. I know that I will not inherent anything. I'm doing this to help my mother and because it is the right thing to do. I will try reaching out to some lawyers there. There really isn't much to the estate, other than the house. Bank accounts only hold a couple thousand dollars, and I'm not sure about the stocks. They really just need closure. I don't know where you are located, but if you have any lawyers to recommend, that would be great. The house is in Mayfield, NY which is in Fulton County.
LADYLAWYER : I admire you, truly, and you're right, it's the right thing to do. It isn't just the taxes on the house though. When a person dies, they still are obligated to file federal income taxes for the year of their death. Was this done? I so wish there was a way to transfer the house without probating it. If your grandparents had put one or all of the children's names on the deed before they passed we could have avoided all this, but there's just no way around it at this point. Even the bank accounts--if they aren't pay on death accounts, they have to be probated. Yes, we could have done those on a summary administration route, which means you could have done it yourself, but the house has to be included at this point, so the formal administration is what is required. You can do it yourself--I am not saying you can't--but goodness there is a lot to do. If you want to try it and have questions, I can help. But it will make it more difficult if you're out of state and not using NY attorney. So sorry that no attorneys seem willing to help. That is strange, but it might be because they often take a percentage of what the estate is worth and since this one isn't worth too much, they aren't going to make to much money. The martindale site should help though and don't be afraid to check 2 or even 3 counties over from where the house is. Lawyers will often travel and work in surrounding counties.
LADYLAWYER : So I was just searching around on martindale for you. Looks like all the lawyers on that site are going to be found in Albany. That's about a one hour drive. It's doable, so search Albany. I am unable to recommend a specific attorney per the rules of this site (they think they have liability if I do and the attorney commits malpractice) but you will get quite a few if you search probate and trusts and estates categories for Albany.
LADYLAWYER : And like I said, if you decide to do it yourself and have informational questions, I can help with that too.
LADYLAWYER : if you have any further questions, please just let me know! If not, please don't forget to rate the service I provided before you leave--it is how the site determines our employment here. Thanks so much!