New York State Law: Why would a self-proving affidavit be rejected by the probate court, and what can be done about it?
July 5, 2011 9:22 AM Subscribe
My father passed away in February, and left a very simple will - a 50/50 split between my sister and myself. His estate is very small, so we are trying to keep legal fees down as much as possible. The will and supporting documentation have been submitted to the NY probate court. One of the probate clerks is objecting to an irregularity in the self proving affidavit that's holding up the whole process. (The will itself seems to be sound.) Somehow this affidavit was screwed up by the notary.
posted by ljshapiro to law & government (9 answers total)
The will was witnessed and notarized in a drug store in central Manhattan that doesn't exist any longer, so the witnesses and notary public were all strangers and have since scattered. I've been told by my cousin (who is the executor of my father's estate, or will be as soon as the court formally appoints him) that our lawyer needs to track down the witnesses himself and get them to sign a valid affidavit to "prove" the will. So far, he has found a single witness but has not yet succeeded in getting her to comply with his request.
(I don't know what specific problem with the self proving affidavit. I have asked the question and hope for an answer soon.)
This all sounds expensive in terms of legal fees, etc. and I'm not completely sure that our lawyer is giving us the best advice. Is there a way to challenge the clerk's assessment of the affidavit? Are there other avenues that would be cheaper and/or faster than hiring private detectives and issuing summons to make the witnesses sign a new affidavit to get this very simple will through the court so that the the estate can be settled? What responsibility does the notary have in all this, since his/her error is costing us time and money?
I'm in California and all this is happening in New York, so I can't easily go around tracking down these witnesses and personally asking them to sign a new affidavit.