Jack comes home from a long day of work, having spent 20 minutes stuck on the R train due to signal problems. In his mailbox, Jack finds a letter from his sister, Emma. Emma is handling their mother’s estate and sent Jack a document called a “Waiver of Process; Consent to Probate.”

Waiver and Consent

Do I sign this?

Jack stares at the document for a few minutes, then throws it on the table, wondering if his day will get any worse or any more confusing. Should he sign a “Waiver of Process and Consent to Probate / Administration” or appear at the return date of a “Citation”?

A Waiver of Process; Consent to Probate is a form that gets sent out to the distributees, or, necessary parties, to a Probate proceeding.  The purpose of the form is twofold.

  1. The first purpose is to help the Court acquire jurisdiction over all of the parties. By signing the form, Jack is advising the Court that he is agreeing to have the Court make decisions that will have a binding affect on Jack. For example, where there is a Will, Jack is consenting to the Court reviewing the documents and accepting the Will to Probate. Where there is no Will, Jack is consenting to the Court reviewing the documents and appointing somebody to manage a decedent’s estate.
  2. The second purpose of the form is to advise the Court that Jack is consenting to a specific person being named the Executor (where there is a Will), or Administrator (where there is no Will). In this case, in signing the form, Jack is advising the Court that he is consenting to Emma’s appointment as the fiduciary.

The main questions that you should ask yourself before signing this form are:

  1. Am I objecting to the admission of the Will to probate? If the answer is yes, do not sign the form.
  2. Am I objecting to the person seeking to become the Executor/Administrator. If the answer is yes, do not sign the form.
  3. Do I want to be the Administrator (in cases where there is no Will)? If the answer is yes and if you are eligible to serve, then do not sign the form. For more information on whether you are eligible to serve, click here.

If Jack signs the Form, then there is nothing more for him to do. He does not have to appear in Court. Note that by signing the form, Jack has not waived his inheritance.

If Jack does not sign the Form, then the Court will need to issue a Citation. A Citation also serves two purposes. The first purpose is to acquire jurisdiction over Jack. The second purpose is for the Court to provide a date and time for Jack to appear and advise the Court of any issues that Jack has about the process.

Additional resources provided by the author

For more information, please contact estate planning attorney Regina Kiperman:
Phone: 917-261-4514
Email: rkiperman@gylawny.com
Or visit her at her new location:
Grimaldi & Yeung LLP
80 Maiden Lane
Suite 304
New York, NY 10038

Visit Regina on Google+

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