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Probate is the process of proving that a Will is valid. It is the first step in administering an estate. People named in the Will are notified, as are people who would inherit if the decedent did not have a Will. In most cases, everyone agrees to move forward and the estate administration process can begin.

Once a Will is proven to be valid, the Surrogate’s Court issues authority in the form of letters testamentary. These allow the nominated Executor to collect a decedent’s assets, pay creditors, account for their actions from start to finish, and ultimately distribute assets.

Administering a Will in Surrogate’s Court provides opportunities to engage in tax planning, fund trusts, and ensure that your final wishes are overseen by State authority.

However, the process can occasionally invite litigation, particularly among conflicting family members. Someone could allege that the Will was not valid for a variety of reasons, could allege that the Executor is not fit to act, or could allege that the Executor has not properly accounted for estate assets.

During these unfortunate situations, we have guided families through the estate litigation process to successfully defend against Will contests or objections to accountings.

Families concerned with this process and the likelihood of conflict would do well to consider testamentary substitutes, such as drafting trusts and coordinating their estate plan with beneficiary designations under the supervision of their attorney and financial advisor.

I just wanted to express my appreciation for the very efficient work you did on mine and Robin's behalf. It's a pleasure to put your life in such competent hands.

- Bill M.


Richard A. Kroll, Esq. has an active practice in the area of Estate Planning, Trusts, and Probate. He is a member of the...

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Private practice in Rochester, New York with the Kroll Law Firm since 2007, a group practice in Brighton, New York with emphasis on...

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Marcus's practice involves estate planning for all families, including LGBT couples, second marriages, and families who have members with...

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Richard A. Kroll
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