General FAQ

Frequently Asked Legal Questions

Based in Brooklyn and serving New York City and Nassau County, the Law Office of Melanie M. Marmer is a criminal and civil litigation practice with expertise in the areas of criminal defense, family law, and estates and wills. Below we answer some frequently asked questions about hiring an attorney after an arrest or when facing a divorce, planning an estate or handling probate.

How should I select a criminal defense attorney?

Your attorney should be trustworthy in your eyes. This might include their qualifications, years of experience, personality or other factors that are important to you. Trial experience is especially critical for criminal defense or civil litigation cases.

In addition, your lawyer should be attentive to the facts of your case. They should ask questions, listen carefully and be responsive to you. You should feel comfortable reaching out to your lawyer when you need something as well as confident that they are working in your best interests.

Also see our Divorce and Family Law FAQ.

Does everyone need a will?

A will is a useful tool that provides you with the ability to control how your estate is divided upon your death. Without a will, your property will be distributed based on state inheritance laws, which may not reflect your actual wishes. With a will, however, you may leave property to a charity, give certain items to certain people or disqualify someone who would otherwise inherit from you based upon heirship. Also, you may appoint a specific person to handle the administration of your estate.

What happens if my relative did not prepare a will?

When there is no will to express your loved one’s wishes, the court follows a procedure called intestate probate. New York law provides a formula for the court to determine how to settle estate debts and divide the inheritance.

Often, intestate probate does not match what the decedent would have wanted. For example, children from a prior marriage might not receive inheritance due to the decedent’s remarriage. Alternatively, a spouse might not have automatic rights to inherit the home. Regardless of the decedent’s relationships or intentions, intestate laws could grant or deny inheritance to the wrong parties.

It is possible that the court could accidentally exclude an heir or a critical asset during the process. If you have concerns about intestate probate and related disputes, contact an experienced probate lawyer for counsel.

Do I need an attorney to probate a will?

While New York law does not require you to hire an attorney to handle probate, it is almost always helpful to do so. There are two different parts to probating a will. First, you must prove the validity of the will, and second, you must execute its terms. Either step can involve considerable administrative paperwork and even litigation. The complexity of an estate can also demand the expertise of a probate lawyer.

At the Law Office of Melanie M. Marmer, we emphasize working toward a timely estate administration. By walking clients through the probate process, we are able to identify and avoid many issues that can slow down proceedings.

How can I learn more?

If you or a loved one needs help with criminal charges, divorce, support, custody, estate planning or probate, please call 718-403-9629 or email us to contact the Law Office of Melanie M. Marmer in Brooklyn to schedule a consultation. We can provide the advice and representation you need to handle any legal issues you have with confidence.