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Upon the death of a testator, the will needs to be filed in the New York Surrogate Court and in the county where the decedent lived. The original last will is to be accompanied by a petition for letters testamentary. The executor or his attorney file probate and furnishes the court with information about heirs and beneficiaries. Heirs and beneficiaries need to be notified of the ongoing probate proceeding. A probate proves the validity of a will and in some cases, there is a will contest.
It is advisable for one to seek legal advice before contesting a will as the process is costly and there may also be consequences. A “no contest” clause seeks to deter parties from challenging the will and gives the consequences if one does, and loses.
When heirs are served with a notice, they may sign a waiver and consent to the appointment of the executor or disagree with the appointment. Challenging the appointment of an executor requires the challenger to show there is dishonesty or a conflict of interest. Anyone who objects needs to be aware that there is an order of priority in the appointment of administrators.
If there is no contest or upon settling such, the court issues a decree and letters of testamentary to the executor. The executor needs to undertake tasks such as paying taxes and debts get a detailed inventory and valuation of assets and close the estate.