Probate and Administration

Over Two Decades of Probate Law Experience In Brooklyn, New York. Trusted, Compassionate and Effective Probate and Estates Law Firm.

At Michael F. Kanzer & Associates P.C., we are committed to helping our clients navigate the Brooklyn, New York Probate and Administration Process. We recognize that losing a loved one is a traumatic and painful experience, and we try to make the probate process as painless as possible. For many, the passing of a loved one is the first time they will experience Brooklyn Probate law. Often people do not know anything about the Kings County Surrogate Court and need guidance to navigate probating a loved one's probate estate. Michael F. Kanzer, Esq has been practicing Probate and Estate law for more than 30 years and have helped many Brooklyn families navigate the Probate process.


When an individual pass away in Brooklyn, New York, the individual’s estate enters into a legal process known as Probate. The process where the will is submitted to the Surrogates Court and the Court authenticates the will, is called Probate. If a valid Last Will and Testament has been provided to the court, it will be reviewed, the contents of the Testamentary Will made known, and the Court will  provide a specific period of time to allow family members or relevant parties to contest the will. We will prepare waivers and consents of Probate for consenting interested family members to execute so the matter could proceed in any uncontested and swift manner .We assist the fiduciaries of a decedent's estate through the probate process, appearing in court, guiding them in the transfer of assets and resolution of claims, as well as the implementation of the decedent's estate plan.


As a law firm providing experienced Probate legal services, assisting Brooklyn and New York area residents with Probate and Estate Planning legal issues, we are committed to protecting the legal rights of each and every client, while always striving to provide the highest standard of legal representation. Contact Michael Kanzer, Attorney at Law by calling 718-769-7200 or by using our online submission form.


We will also analyze your situation and explain the Probate Process including:

  • The content, validity, potential disputes, and execution of a decedent’s will
  • Claims of debt against the decedent’s estate
  • Potential allegations of Undue Influence of the decedent’s will, or claims of entitlement form those who have been left out of the will, or believe the estate is not being distributed fairly
  • Estate Administration Issues
  • Asset and Property Distribution
  • Other relevant estate issues

If debt is owed by the decedent, this may also be the best time to negotiate a reduced and reasonable settlement amount for the debt that is owed, or to formally dispute debt claims against the estate. Many families do not find out that claims of debt against the estate exist until the estate of their loved one enters into probate. While many estates are able to clear the probate process quickly and without significant roadblocks, seeking the professional advice and representation to handle Probate for your loved one’s estate gives you the advantage of effectively addressing any issues you may have to deal with in order to clear the estate through probate.


We also represent individuals in connection with will contests. A will contest is a legal action in Surrogates Court that challenges the validity of a will and/or the terms of the will. A will may be invalid if it was the result of forgery, undue influence, inadequate execution, or other issues. A later will may invalidate an earlier version.


The Probate Process

After each will is drafted, it must pass through the probate process. During this formal process, the will is recognized as a legal document, and the court appoints the executor who will be in charge of your estate after you pass away. By going through this process, your nominated executor will be appointed to distribute your assets as directed in the will.


Because probate laws are complex, it’s best to consult an experienced attorney at one of the leading Brooklyn law firms to see if probate is necessary for your case. Though many states have worked to simplify the probate process, there may still be reasons for you to avoid it by putting your assets into a living trust. However, instead of attempting to avoid the probate process, it might be more beneficial to minimize other issues that could lead to estate litigation, such as claims brought by heirs.


Visit Michael F. Kanzer & Associates, a leading Brooklyn law firm, to learn more about wills and probate, estate litigation, and how to manage your assets. We are always happy to speak with clients regarding their estate. Contact us today to talk to one of our associates and schedule an appointment 718-769-7200.


Administration and Intestacy - Deceased Died without a Will or Trust

If your loved one died without a valid will or trust in place, any property in the estate is distributed according to New York’s “intestacy” laws, which dictate who is entitled to the property, and how much they are entitled to receive. We can represent you in an Administration or Intestacy proceeding, so that you can be appointed Administrator and collect know assets and distribute according to statutory requirements.
It is called an “Administration” process.

  • We will commence the legal proceedings to obtain your appointment or file the necessary papers to obtain your share of the Estate.
  • We will walk you through the process and complete all the documents including filing an Administration Petition, serve all interested parties, attend at court hearings, assist in the collection and search of all assets, determine which debts and liabilities need to be paid and file closing documents with the Surrogates Court, as needed.

However, only assets that would have been distributed through a will are subject to intestacy laws. Things like property transferred via a trust, life insurance payouts, or a co-owned asset are excluded from intestate succession proceedings.

  • Determining who gets what after a loved one passes away without a will is incredibly complicated in Brooklyn, New York. The distribution of assets can be broken down by what types of surviving relatives are left behind.

When a person dies without leaving a Last Will and Testament, it's said that they died intestate. When a person dies intestate, that person's property is distributed according to the law. In New York, that law is found in EPTL 4-1.1. The family members who are entitled to a share of the Decedent's estate when there is no will are called "distributees".

In the simplest terms:


If the Decedent has... then
a spouse (husband or wife) and no children the spouse inherits everything
children* but no spouse children inherit everything
spouse and children* the spouse inherits the first $50,000 plus half of the balance. The children* inherit everything else.
parents but no spouse and no children* the parents inherit everything
siblings (brothers or sisters) but no spouse, children*, or parents the siblings inherit everything
* If a child dies before the Decedent and had children of their own, then the Decedent would have grandchildren. Those grandchildren would step into the Decedent's child's
place and inherit in place of the child.

What About Decedent's Children

For children to inherit from their parents, New York State requires that there is legal parent-child relationship. In most cases this is not an issue but it's not always clear.

  • Adopted children will inherit just like a biological child.
  • Foster children and stepchildren will not inherit unless they were legally adopted.
  • Children born after the Decedent dies will inherit.
  • Children born outside of marriage, also called non-marital child, will inherit from a male Decedent if paternity is established
  • Grandchildren will inherit only if their parent (the Decedent's child) dies before the Decedent died.

If the Decedent has no family at all, then the property will go to New York State. The Administration Process is extremely complicated in Brooklyn, New York. The Surrogates Court requires notice or waivers by certain required relatives.


If you require professional legal services regarding Intestate and Administration issues, in enforcing and protecting your legal rights by seeking the legal advice of an experienced Brooklyn Estate Administration attorney Contact Michael F. Kanzer, Attorney at Law by calling 718-769-7200 or by using our online submission form.

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