Trusts, Estate & Probate

Our Trust and Estate attorneys at Kerley, Walsh, Matera and Cinquemani have decades of experience in the probating and administration of estates. The death of a family member or loved one is emotional and heartbreaking. The range of emotions exhibited by family and friends is vast: anger, frustration, sadness and misunderstanding, to name a few. Those emotions are often amplified by the uncertainty of the next steps or being told by a financial or other institution that they will not provide the family member with the information requested. Probate and Estate Administration may be streamlined with the assistance of our experienced attorneys at Kerley, Walsh, Matera and Cinquemani who are here to explain and assist you through the probate and administration process during this difficult time.

When an individual passes away in New York without a Last Will and Testament, they are deemed to have passed away intestate. Their assets will be distributed pursuant to the laws of intestacy. The laws of intestacy are determined by statute and outline who may serve as the Administrator of the estate and also identifies who is entitled to inherit from the estate and the percentage of assets the heirs at law may be entitled to receive. When someone dies with a Will, the nominated executor will petition for Letters Testamentary. Our attorneys will assist in the application for Letters of Administration or Testamentary, and obtain the authority from the Surrogate’s Court in the form of either Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. These Letters will authorize the executor or administrator to marshal the decedent’s assets, pay the debts of the estate, sell the decedent’s home and arrange for the distribution of those assets as required. When appropriate, we will assist you in the final inventory and accounting of those assets to the Court.

Estate proceedings often involve the sale or other transfer of real estate. Our attorneys are well versed in the transfer and sale of real property, including those transfers within the context of estate proceedings.

Our attorneys also are experienced in the estate litigation process including the defense or challenge to a will or trust, the prosecution or defense of accounting proceedings and the recovery of assets that were improperly transferred prior to the decedent’s passing.

The attorneys at Kerley, Walsh, Matera and Cinquemani are also experienced in Kinship proceedings which occurs when an individual dies with unidentified or missing heirs-at-law who may otherwise be entitled to a portion of their relative’s estate.