Probate can be a complicated, expensive, and time-consuming process. It is the last thing you would want to think about after the death of a loved one. Therefore, it is essential to understand it and how you can prevent beneficiaries from going through the process.
What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process that involves distributing a deceased person’s assets. The process is overseen by the court and often involves lengthy paperwork and a series of court appearances. During the process, the court will give the executor power to pay taxes owed by the estate and distribute your property to the beneficiaries.
If you die without a will, there will be an administration proceeding to determine how your assets will get distributed. If this is the case, the court will appoint an administrator who will follow the instructions in the state’s intestacy statute to distribute the estate.
The entire process involves a considerable amount of paperwork and the involvement of attorneys. However, the process must be completed before an estate can be opened or before any assets can be passed to beneficiaries.
How to Avoid Probate
You can take the following steps to ensure that some or all of your assets go directly to the beneficiaries without probate:
- Establishing a Revocable Or Other Type of Living Trust
The advantage of a living trust is that the property in the trust won’t be part of the probate estate. For a revocable trust, you can be your own trustee and appoint a successor to distribute your assets per the trust agreement terms after your death. In the trust, you specify who will inherit the property.
- Joint Property Ownership
If you make your child, spouse, or anyone else a joint owner of your accounts, those accounts will pass to the joint account holder upon your death and will not have to go through probate.
- Create Accounts Payable on Death
Making accounts payable on death allows you to designate the balance directly to your beneficiaries without the need for probate. Although New York laws do not allow transfer-on-death deeds for vehicle registrations payable on death, designations can be made on most types of accounts.
Contact a New York Estate Planning Attorney Today
At Somekh & Associates, we know the benefits and the disadvantages of each estate transfer method. If you need help with estate planning, we are ready to offer a personalized solution to safeguard your interests. Contact us online or call us at (718) 740-300 today to schedule a free consultation with one of our New York estate planning attorneys.