Many people are not aware of the existence of probate. This is a legal process that takes place under the supervision of the Surrogate’s Court in the state of New York.
If you were to pass away without any type of estate planning documents at all, the court would utilize intestate succession laws to determine the way that your resources should be distributed. When a last will is used, the will must be admitted to probate.
Generally speaking, any time you pass away in direct possession of personal property, that property is going to become probate property. It won’t be passed along to the heirs until after the process of probate has run its course.
The above having been stated, in New York there is a potential probate shortcut for smaller estates. A simplified probate procedure may be available if the estate in question does not exceed $20,000 in value.
Probate Avoidance Strategies
When you are planning your estate, you can intentionally avoid the probate process if you take certain steps. Why would you want to avoid probate? There are a few reasons why people choose to implement probate avoidance strategies.
Probate is a public proceeding. Anything that goes on during probate becomes a matter of public record. In other words, anyone and everyone can find out exactly how you distributed your resources.
There are significant costs that can accumulate during probate, and this is another one of the pitfalls. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, probate does not run its course overnight.
The inheritors don’t receive their bequests until the estate has been probated. The exact duration of the process will depend on the circumstances. If things go as smoothly as possible, it will probably take around nine months to a year for the estate to be closed.
If you decide that you would like to facilitate the transfer of your assets outside of probate, you have a number of different options. The optimal course of action will depend on your unique personal situation. One option that is ideal for many people is the revocable living trust.
With this type of trust you do not lose control of the assets while you are alive and well. After you pass away, the trustee that you name in the trust agreement distributes monetary resources to the beneficiaries according to your wishes.
The probate process is not a factor when you create a revocable living trust. The trustee can distribute assets in a timely manner outside of the process of probate.
Free Probate Report
In this post we have taken a brief look at some facts about probate. If you would like to learn more, download our free report on the subject. You can access the report through this link: Free Probate Report.