Do I need a lawyer to probate both of my parent’s Wills?

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Do I need a lawyer to probate both of my parent’s Wills?

Both parents passed within days of each other. They both had Wills. They both left named each other in their Wills then listed me. I have no brothers or sisters. Seems kind of simple to me. Go to surrogates court and get a letter of administration.

Asked on July 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your losses.  It must be a very difficult time for you.  Just as a point of reference, if you are named in a Will as a fiduciary you would be the executor of the estate(s).  An Administrator is a fiduciary that is appointed when there is no Will.  The Courts do not require that you have an attorney to facilitate the probate of a Will but the required paperwork can be daunting.  And here you are going to be required as an only child to have a person that is not related to you but knows your family well to write an affidavit that confirms that you are an only child and you have no siblings.  The court wants to insure that no one is left out.  And technically you parent that died second inherited it al from the parent that dies first so both Wills have to be presented for probate.  The size of the estate(s) will matter as well.  You may want to retain an attorney on a consultation basis.  Good luck.


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