Law Firm of Gallo & Spero, LLP - Staten Island, NY. We are Staten Island's premier Personal Injury and Elder Law Attorneys providing the best possible outcome for your accident claim and the best possible estate and medicaid planning protection of your hard earned assets.


Probate is a legal process whereby a decedent's will is admitted (verified) to the Court. All wills, in order to be valid, must be admitted to probate court. Legal assistance can be obtained to help the executor or administrator perform some or all of the duties of probating an estate, and to help you make the crucial decision of who will be your personal representative of your estate (called the "executor" if a person dies with a will or "administrator" if the person dies without a will).       

Below is a brief synopsis of what would be involved if you were named an executor or volunteered as an administrator. 

Investigating the estate. You next must locate all the property, determine its value, collect money owed the estate, and pay debts. Professional appraisals may be needed for some items.

Opening the estate. You begin the probate process by submitting the will (if any) to the probate court in the decedent's county and notifying relatives, heirs and creditors of the death. The court will issue you documents authorizing you to act on the estate's behalf.

Paying taxes. You are responsible for estate and inheritance taxes and for the decedent's final federal and state income tax returns. Only a small percentage of estates owe federal estate tax, but most states have an inheritance tax. Sometimes the estate pays it, sometimes the heirs.

Distributing the estate. You usually can't distribute property to heirs until you have receipts showing all taxes have been paid and you have filed an accounting with the court. The beneficiaries will also need to execute appropriate releases before receiving their respective shares. There is also a waiting period during which people can object to what you've done, but this usually comes before you've distributed the property. In any case, once you've filed the accounting (formal or informal) and all other required Court documents, you may then distributed the property, after the waiting period has expired.   At that point, the estate is usually "settled" and your responsibility ends.

For further information on Probate and Administration and ways to avoid probate,  please contact Mark Gallo, Esq. at (718) 761-6464 for a free consultation.

Law Firm of Gallo & Spero, LLP - Staten Island, NY Elder Law, Estate Planning, Personal Injury Accident Attorneys