Practice Areas - Probate

Are you facing the death of a loved one? Let us help you settle their estate within a New York Surrogate’s Court through probate (with a Will) or administration (without a Will) as quickly and painlessly as possible so you can carry on in this difficult time.

Avoid years of costly legal and emotional issues with the right estate administration legal help. Our New York trusts and estates law firm can:

  • Protect the New York estate by dealing with banks, private creditors, and current and former business partners in New York, so you don’t have to.
  • Take a proactive approach to preemptively mediating painful family conflicts before they arise, carrying out any existing wishes of your loved one with proper estate planning in New York.
  • Help you properly appoint a responsible executor to the estate or deal with removing one who has been improperly managing it in New York State.
  • Settle the estate as quickly as possible, so you can get the closure you require and move on.

Navigate the Brooklyn New York Probate with a Russian Speaking Lawyer on Your Side

What happens to your assets after you pass away? If you don’t place your New York assets into a trust, they go through the New York Surrogate’s Court, also commonly referred to by non-lawyers as probate court.

The legal process can be confusing and costly for you, your loved one, or the Russian community. Our experienced New York probate attorneys at The Law Offices of Vlad Portnoy P.C. can ensure you have solid representation in New York probate court.

What is New York Probate?

The term probate most literally means “to prove” a will. Today, it covers the entire legal process necessary to settle a person’s estate after they die. The appointed personal representative (usually a family member) opens the probate case in court. With the court’s help, they will work through all the financial business that the decedent left behind.

Understanding the Probate and Administration Process in New York

The probate and estate administration process includes authenticating a deceased person’s Will, reviewing their assets, and paying outstanding debts and final taxes. The remaining estate will then be inheritable to their heirs. After an asset-holder dies, the court will appoint a valid will’s New York Executor to administer the probate process. In the absence of a will, the court will appoint an estate administrator to handle probate under the state’s intestacy rules in the New York estate administration. Probate law varies by state, but there are steps in the process that are common.


Probate is a requirement for any asset or account that does not have a joint owner or beneficiary named if the estate meets a certain valuation threshold. If a joint owner or beneficiary is named, then the title changes automatically, and probate becomes unnecessary to transfer the New York assets. An experienced New York estate administration lawyer can help you determine what planning tools are best for you.

How an Administration and Probate Attorney Can Help If You or a Loved One is Facing Probate in New York

Whether you are the Executor or an heir of the probate estate, knowing the Executor’s role is one of the first steps you should take at the beginning of the probate process. One of the most significant conflict sources in probating the estate is understanding the lawyer’s role hired by the Executor of a probate estate. Many Executors do not understand the probate process and leave the tasks up to the estate lawyer.

Some of the shared responsibilities of an executor that a New York estate administration lawyer assists with include:

  • Duty to communicate. The duty to notify the beneficiaries the estate exists, identify the Executor, provide a copy of the inventory, provide copies of court filings, generally explain documents that require a beneficiary’s signature, etc. This duty to communicate is not the same as an attorney-client relationship, which means there is no attorney-client privilege, and the attorney cannot give legal advice.
  • Duty to account. Provide regular estate accountings, which include explaining funds paid out of estate accounts for expenses.
  • Duty to treat all beneficiaries equally. To distribute estate funds simultaneously, if a question arises about an interpretation of something in the Will, the attorney cannot interpret it, and the court must interpret it.

Your Russian Speaking Probate Attorney in Brooklyn, NY and New York, NY

The Law Offices of Vlad Portnoy P.C. has many years of experience with New York Probate issues. Our trusts and estates law firm understand this can be a complicated process to navigate alone. We are here to help resolve any legal issues that may arise when dealing with the Surrogate’s Court for you, your loved one, and our Russian community. Whether you or a loved one are facing probate currently or want to avoid Surrogate’s Court in the future, our New York and Brooklyn estate planning lawyers can help you navigate the process in New York.