FAQ: What is Intestacy? What is Testacy?

The following information focuses on New York estate law. Intestacy describes a person’s estate where the decedent passed away without a last will and testament.  This is known as dying intestate.  Conversely, Testacy describes a person’s estate where the decedent passed away with a last will and testament.  This is known as dying testate. Whether […]

FAQ: What is a Distributee? What is an Heir at Law?

Definition of DISTRIBUTEE: (noun) / a person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent under the statutes governing descent and distribution (New York Estates, Powers, & Trusts Law §4-1.1) A distributee is also often referred to as an “heir-at-law” and is less formally known as “the next of kin”.  When a […]

FAQ: What is a Decedent?

Definition of DECEDENT: (noun) / a deceased person Used mainly in law, a decedent is used to refer to a person who has died.  For example, ” The decedent was domiciled in the Bronx and was survived by three heirs.”   ANTONELLI & ANTONELLI – New York City Probate Attorneys and Estate Attorneys serving Manhattan, […]

FAQ: What is a Testator?

Definition of TESTATOR: (noun) / one who makes and executes a last will and testament For example, if Tiffany has a will drafted and she executes the will, then Tiffany is referred to as the Testator.  When Tiffany subsequently passes away, she is said to have died “testate”, or with a will. The word "testatrix" […]

FAQ: What is a Beneficiary?

Definition of BENEFICIARY: (noun) / one that benefits from something; the person named to receive proceeds or benefit; a person or entity designated by another to receive a gift of money or property A beneficiary under a last will and testament is known as a testamentary beneficiary.  For example, if John executes a last will […]

FAQ – Will Contests: Do I have grounds for contesting a will? (Part 1 of 6)

Will contests are one type of estate litigation where the objectant challenges the validity of a will.  Under the laws of New York, only certain individuals can challenge the probate of a Last Will and Testament, known as a “will contest”.  In order to have standing to contest a will, you must have a “pecuniary […]

FAQ – Can a Copy of a Will be Admitted to Probate?

When a person passes away in New York State and their original Last Will & Testament cannot be located, New York law may allow a copy of the will to be admitted to probate.  In order to probate a copy of a will, the Surrogate’s Court requires the person offering a copy of the will […]

FAQ – What is Probate & Estate Administration in NY?

In New York, the Surrogate’s Court handles cases involving the probate of decedent’s wills and the administration of decedent’s estates. The interpretation of this legalese is rather simple. When a person dies with a will, that person is said to have died “testate” and the will must be probated (Latin term meaning “to prove”) in […]