In March 2019, the Alabama Supreme Court heard an influential estate planning decisions. The case was initiated by Chris Jones, who appealed a circuit court decision regarding a will contest about a will written by Jones’ father. Chris Jones initially filed the case in probate court because the probate court failed to admit the will to probate or to appoint a personal representative of the estate. Around this time, Jones also filed a motion transfer the will to an Alabama circuit court which led to a review by the Alabama Supreme Court.
In its decision, the court held that the circuit court had lacked jurisdiction and as a result the circuit court’s judgment was void and the case was dismissed. This case serves an important reminder about the role that a probate court can have in deciding how an estate is divided.
Probate court in New York as well as every other state has the potential to be a long and drawn out process. As a result, many people during the estate planning process decide to take the steps necessary to avoid probate. In the state of New York, there are a number of ways to bypass the probate process, which will be reviewed in this article.