Probate & Administration  

    Having practiced probate and estate law in Brooklyn and all of New York City for over 23 years, Mary Jane McPherson is able to successfully guide you though this difficult process. Trying to do this yourself is like trying to fly a plane without any prior experience or training; chances are things will not end well.


    The death of a family member is often fraught with stress and uncertainty about what needs to be done and when. Discussion and interaction among various family members—particularly between family members who are estranged—can create situations which are suffused with anger, guilt and distrust. The estate attorney upon meeting with the family can often dispel some of these concerns by explaining the probate or administration procedure in simple terms and encouraging the family members to work together.

    The Probate Proceeding:

    If the decedent died with a will, locating the original document and safe guarding it is extremely important so it can be presented to the Surrogate’s Court by the attorney hired to commence the “probate proceeding.” A probate proceeding concerns itself with getting the person named as executor in the will appointed by the court so that he/she will be able to serve in that capacity. The executor once appointed will marshal the assets of the decedent and distribute those assets in accordance with the provisions contained in the Last Will and Testament. The probate proceeding will identify not only the parties named in decedent’s will, but will also identify the heirs at law of the decedent, whether or not named in the will.

    Probate assets are those assets that pass under the Last Will and Testament—those assets owned by the decedent in his name alone without any beneficiary named thereon. Conversely, non probate assets are those assets which pass outside the Last Will and Testament directly to a named beneficiary or joint account holder upon the death of the decedent.

    The Administration Proceeding:

    If the decedent died without a Last Will and Testament, then he or she is said to have died “intestate.” An “administration proceeding” is similar to a “probate proceeding” but because of the non-existence of a will the New York State Laws of Intestacy determine who has the right to be appointed administrator and who will receive the decedent’s assets.

    NYS and Federal Estate Taxes:

    The estate attorney working with the executor or the administrator will explain the New York State and Federal Estate Tax Laws as they relate to the size of the decedent’s estate and whether or not a tax filing is required. If a tax filing is required the attorney will outline what steps need to be taken to determine the date of death value of the decedent’s real and personal property and the time frame proscribed for filing the tax return(s) and paying the taxes (if applicable).

    Mary Jane McPherson has been practicing in this area of law for over 23 years and is fully familiar with the procedures involved in Surrogate Court practice whether it is in the Probate, Administration or Miscellaneous Parts of the Court. She has handled will contests, lost will proceedings, accountings and guardianships.


    M. J. McPherson has represented our family for over 20 years in various legal matters. She has proven to me to be tenacious, forthright and efficient in handling all our legal concerns. We have often recommended her services to family and friends because of her fine attributes.

    Steve, Brooklyn, NY

    579 74 Street | Brooklyn | NY 11209 | phone: 718-491-9270
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