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What is surrogate’s court and what do you do there?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2021 | Wills and Trusts | 0 comments

When a loved one dies, not only do you have to process the grief, you need to process through their estate. This is often an emotional episode in your life and the lives of the loved one’s other decedents.

Whether you have a will or not in the aftermath of all that, Richmond county’s surrogate’s court is there to assist with whatever you need within the scope of surrogate affairs.

Surrogate’s court basics

According to the New York courts, each county provides a surrogate’s court in order to deal with the affairs of decedents. These affairs include:

  • Guardianships
  • Trusts
  • Probate
  • Intestate administration

The courts do not require you to have an attorney but do warn that these processes range from relatively simple to extremely complex. Depending on the estate at hand, any trusts involved in the situation or familiar conflicts that need resolving, you may have a lot of information to parse through.

Other functions of surrogate’s court include adoptions like those from an agency, those due to remarrying or foreign adoptions.

Court assistance with or without a will

If your loved one died with a written will, this means they died “testate.” A valid will may help direct a surrogate’s court divide property during the probate process. Without a will, the term is “intestate”, and New York law provides for how to dispose of those assets.

Whatever county you reside in, the surrogate’s court has clerks and resources for you to lean on during this difficult time. In the case of difficult probate processes or stressful litigation, there are ways to prepare an appropriate case that may help you and the other decedents receive whatever is appropriate from your loved one’s estate.