Saugerties, NY asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Probate for Puerto Rico

Q: How do probate laws in NY and PR affect each other? My late husband's properties will be in probate simultaneously.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Probate laws in New York (NY) and Puerto Rico (PR) are separate and distinct, as they are two different jurisdictions. However, if your late husband owned properties in both NY and PR, the probate process will need to be initiated in each jurisdiction simultaneously. Here's what you should consider:

1. Ancillary probate: If your husband was a resident of one jurisdiction (e.g., NY) at the time of his death, the primary probate will take place there. For the property in PR, an ancillary probate proceeding may be required to transfer the ownership of the PR property.

2. Executors: The executor named in your husband's will (if there is one) would typically handle probate in both jurisdictions. If there is no will or the named executor is unable or unwilling to serve, the court in each jurisdiction will appoint an administrator to handle the probate process.

3. Local laws: Each jurisdiction has its own set of laws governing the probate process, including the distribution of assets, tax implications, and creditor claims. It's essential to consult with attorneys familiar with the probate laws in both NY and PR to ensure compliance and protect your interests.

4. Time and cost: Conducting probate in two jurisdictions simultaneously can be time-consuming and expensive. You may need to pay court fees, attorney fees, and other expenses in both NY and PR.

5. Estate planning: If your husband had a well-drafted estate plan, it might include provisions to simplify the probate process, such as the use of a living trust. This could potentially help avoid probate altogether or minimize the assets subject to probate in each jurisdiction.

It's crucial to work with experienced estate planning and probate attorneys in both NY and PR to guide you through the process, help you understand the implications of the laws in each jurisdiction, and ensure that your late husband's assets are distributed according to his wishes and the applicable laws.

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