A deceased person’s assets are transferred to the persons who will inherit them during probate court proceedings, which can be drawn out, expensive, and complex. It seems sensible that so many people make efforts to make life easier for their families. If you are taking the time to plan your estate, you probably have your beneficiaries’ best interests in mind. Fortunately, you have options in New York to avoid probate and you are on the right page. Eastcoastlaws.com has put together a guide on how to avoid probate in New York.
New York Probate Laws Basics
The legal procedure for managing a decedent’s estate is called probate. The Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act and the Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law both oversee probate laws in the state of New York. In New York, when a person passes away, their assets are distributed either in accordance with their will, if they had one, or, in the absence of a will, in accordance with the state’s intestacy rules. A person can specify how they want their possessions to be allocated after they pass away via a will, a legal document. Without a will, a person’s assets are dispersed in accordance with the laws of intestacy, which provide that the deceased’s closest relatives should receive their assets.
The Surrogate’s Court, the court with authority over probate cases in New York, receives the will as the first step in the probate procedure. The executor will subsequently be chosen by the court, which is in charge of overseeing the decedent’s estate and disbursing the assets in accordance with the will or the intestacy rules.
The executor is in charge of gathering all of the decedent’s assets, paying off any liabilities and taxes, and then distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. Depending on how complicated the estate is, this process could take several months to a year or longer.
In New York, there are two types of probate proceedings: formal and informal. Formal proceedings are used when there is a will and the executor is named in the will. Informal proceedings are used when there is no will or the will is not valid.
Formal proceedings begin with the filing of a petition with the Surrogate’s Court. The petition must include the will if there is one, and a list of the deceased person’s assets and debts. The court will then issue letters testamentary, which give the executor the authority to manage the estate.
Informal proceedings begin with the filing of a petition with the Surrogate’s Court. The petition must include a list of the deceased person’s assets and debts, as well as a list of the person’s next of kin. The court will then issue letters of administration, which give the administrator the authority to manage the estate.
How To Avoid Probate in New York
Probate is the legal process of distributing a deceased person’s assets to their heirs and beneficiaries. In New York, probate can be a time-consuming and costly process, with the average case taking at least six months to complete. However, there are ways to avoid probate and ensure that your assets are distributed quickly and efficiently.
Create A Revocable Living Trust
One way to avoid probate is to create a revocable living trust. This type of trust allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to the trust, which is then managed by a trustee for the benefit of your beneficiaries. When you die, the assets in the trust do not need to go through probate because they are already in the trust. Additionally, a living trust can provide for the management of your assets if you become incapacitated.
Joint Ownership Of Assets
Another way to avoid probate is to use joint ownership of assets. If you own property or other assets jointly with another person, the assets will automatically pass to the surviving joint owner(s) upon your death, without the need for probate. For example, you can add a joint owner to your bank account or real estate property.
Payable On-Death Designations
You can also use payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) designations on your assets. These designations allow you to specify who will receive the assets upon your death without the need for probate. For example, you can name a POD or TOD beneficiary on your bank account or brokerage account.
Life Insurance Policy
Another way to avoid probate is to use a life insurance policy or retirement account. These types of assets pass directly to the named beneficiaries, bypassing probate altogether.
Creating A Will
You should also consider creating a will. Even if you use other methods to avoid probate, it is still a good idea to have a will in place to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. However, a will must go through a probate process to be executed.
Review And Update Your Estate Plan
In addition, you should regularly review and update your estate plan to ensure that it reflects your current wishes and circumstances. This may include updating your beneficiaries, trustees, and executors, as well as making any changes to your assets.