Do I need a lawyer to probates a small estate?

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Do I need a lawyer to probates a small estate?

My grandmother died. She had no debts. Her “estate” is that small; her only assets were a small house, car and a few stocks/bonds. I am an educated person. Can I go through the probate process myself or do I need a lawyer? Everything was left to me.

Asked on June 10, 2015 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Having a lawyer is not a requirement to open up a formal probate proceeding or for administering a small estate.

NY does have a procedure specifically designed for the administration of a small estate. However, the value of the estate cannot cannot include real estate. That having been said, you could use the small estate process for her personal property; it may save both time and money. Here is a link too a site that you will find to be of help:

http://nycourts.gov/courthelp//diy/smallestate.shtml

As for the house, you will need to open a formal probate proceeding. For that, here is a link for further information:

http://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/whensomeonedies/probate.shtml

After reviewing the material, you can decide as to whether or not this is something that you want to do for yourself.

 


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