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Estate settlement is simply the process whereby the estate of a person who has passed away (decedent) is handled according to the applicable laws and facts.
When a decedent passes away with a will, the will is usually probated in the New York State Surrogate’s Court. After expenses, taxes and debts are paid, the remaining assets are distributed according to the terms of the will.
When a decedent passes away without a will, he or she is said to be “intestate”. After expenses, taxes and debts are paid, the remaining assets are distributed according to the “intestacy laws” or “laws of descent and distribution” in New York State.
The estate settlement process is much broader than just probating a will or distributing assets pursuant to the intestacy laws of the State. It can be very complicated with numerous legal issues and filing requirements. An experienced estate settlement attorney should be consulted to help guild the person who will be handling the settlement of the estate.