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Can You Avoid Probate in New York?

probate new york

In the wake of your loved one’s passing, you have assumed a complex range of legal and financial issues. Even though your loved one left a road map, this is still a monumental undertaking. Unfortunately, you are now staring down the prospect of having to put your loved one’s estate through probate. You might be asking yourself if there is any way you could avoid probate in New York State. If so, please read on, then contact an experienced Rockland County probate attorney today.

Is probate necessary in New York?

Generally, probate assets are those which are solely owned by the deceased and do not have a beneficiary designation to allow them to pass to another person by operation of law. This includes individual bank accounts, solely owned homes, cars, jewelry, art, cash and antiques.

On the other hand, non-probate assets include:

  • Assets held in trust
  • Bank accounts with a named beneficiary
  • Retirement accounts, like a 401k and IRA
  • Life insurance policies with a named beneficiary
  • Jointly held savings, checking and brokerage accounts
  • Jointly held real property

If a person’s estate consists solely of non-probate assets, there is no need for the probate process.

Are there any other ways to forgo probate in New York?

Yes, there are two additional conditions by which the executor may avoid the probate process. They are as follows:

  • A small estate: In the Empire State, if the decedent had less than $30,000 of personal property either with or without a will, a small estate or voluntary administration proceeding can be filed in place of probate.
  • The decedent created an estate plan to avoid probate: To simplify the distribution of assets to their heirs, individuals with a moderate to high net worth often take steps, such as creating a living will, to prepare an estate plan that avoids probate.

For help appraising the value of your loved one’s personal property or assistance with making a living will, please do not hesitate to reach out to a skilled Rockland County wills, trusts and estates attorney as soon as possible.

What is a living will and how do you create one in New York?

Your loved one can make a living will, also known as a living trust, to avoid probate for virtually any asset they own: real estate, bank accounts, vehicles and so on. To create a living trust, your loved one must name someone to assume the role of trustee after their death, which is known as a successor trustee. Then, your loved one must transfer ownership of their property to themselves as the trustee of the trust. Once they have done that, the property will be controlled by the terms of the trust. Upon their death, the successor trustee will be able to transfer it to the trust beneficiaries without probate court proceedings.

If you have any further questions, please call our firm today.

Contact our Firm

If you require an experienced team of attorneys, contact The Lauterbach Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.

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