Avoiding Common Pitfalls in New York Probate Litigation

Probate litigation can be a complex and stressful process, especially in New York, where the rules and regulations can be intricate. To help you navigate the probate process, we have compiled a list of five common pitfalls to avoid. By being aware of these potential issues, you can better prepare yourself to handle the probate process and protect your loved one's estate.

1. Failing to Properly Notify Creditors and Interested Parties

One of the first steps in the probate process is to notify all creditors and interested parties of the decedent's passing. This is crucial, as failure to do so can result in the estate being held liable for any debts that were not properly addressed. To avoid this pitfall, make sure to follow the New York State guidelines for notifying creditors and interested parties, which include publishing a notice in a local newspaper and sending written notices to all known creditors.

2. Ignoring Deadlines and Timeframes

Probate litigation in New York has specific deadlines and timeframes that must be adhered to. For example, creditors have six months from the date of the decedent's death to file a claim against the estate. Additionally, the executor or administrator of the estate must file an inventory of assets within nine months of their appointment. Failure to meet these deadlines can result in penalties and complications for the estate. To avoid this pitfall, make sure to familiarize yourself with the New York State probate timeline and stay organized throughout the process.

3. Neglecting to Properly Value and Appraise Assets

One of the key responsibilities of the executor or administrator is to accurately value and appraise the decedent's assets. This is crucial for determining the estate's tax obligations and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Failure to properly value and appraise assets can result in disputes among beneficiaries and potential tax penalties. To avoid this pitfall, consider hiring a professional appraiser or working with an experienced probate attorney to ensure that all assets are accurately valued.

4. Failing to Consider Tax Implications

Probate litigation in New York can have significant tax implications for the estate and its beneficiaries. For example, the estate may be subject to federal and state estate taxes, and beneficiaries may be subject to inheritance taxes. Failure to properly plan for these taxes can result in unexpected financial burdens for the estate and its beneficiaries. To avoid this pitfall, consult with a tax professional or probate attorney to ensure that all tax obligations are properly addressed.

5. Attempting to Navigate Probate Litigation Without Legal Assistance

Probate litigation can be a complex and time-consuming process, and attempting to navigate it without legal assistance can result in costly mistakes and delays. An experienced probate attorney can help you avoid common pitfalls, ensure that all deadlines are met, and guide you through the process as smoothly as possible. By working with a knowledgeable legal professional, you can protect your loved one's estate and ensure that their wishes are carried out.


Avoiding these common pitfalls in New York probate litigation can help protect your loved one's estate and ensure a smoother process. At The Virdone Law Firm, P.C., our experienced probate attorneys can guide you through this complex process and help you navigate the intricacies of New York probate law. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you avoid these common pitfalls in probate litigation.

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