Estates with a Will
If there is a Will and there are assets solely in the decedent’s name, the Executor should bring the original Will to the County’s Surrogate’s office within a reasonable period of time. By statute, the Surrogate’s office cannot appoint the Executor until the 11th day after the date of death, but application can be made and paperwork signed prior to that date. Along with the Will, the Executor must also file with the Surrogate’s office a certified death certificate with a raised seal and a completed Decedent’s Information Sheet which can be accessed on this website. If everything is in proper order, and the Will is self-proving (that is, the signatures of the testator and witnesses are notarized properly), the Executor can apply to have the Will admitted to probate and request appointment.
However, if the Will is not self-proving, some type of Witness Proof will need to be signed, either by one of the witnesses who signed the Will, someone who witnessed the signing, or someone who can attest to the testator’s signature. The Witness Proof must be notarized either in the Surrogate’s office or by a notary or attorney for proof of the witness’s signature.
After the Will has been probated, the Executor will be provided with Notice of Probate and Proof of Mailing forms, along with instructions. The Executor has 60 days to notify all of the heirs and next of kin and beneficiaries named in the will. Once notification is completed, the original forms must be mailed to the Surrogate’s office to be filed within 10 days after the notice has been mailed.
For more information about the duties of an Executor, click here.