How to Avoid Probate in Queens

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Before planning your estate with a mindset of avoiding the probate process, it is necessary to know what the probate process is all about. The probate process has to do with validation of a will and last testament of a deceased person. The court through this legal process called probate, verifies that the will of a deceased person is valid. If found wanting, the court invalidates the will. Without the probate process the estate of the deceased person cannot be passed down to his heirs and beneficiaries.

How to avoid probate

There are several reasons why most people wish to avoid the probate process.  A few methods on how this can be achieved is listed below

  • Transfer-on-Death Registration for Securities:  if you have stocks and bonds, in New York you are allowed to register a TOD. In this case, at your death the beneficiary will be the owner of your brokerage account.
  • Joint ownership: A property jointly owned with the right of survivorship means if one of the owners dies the property is automatically transferred to the surviving partner.
  • Living trust: it is possible to make a living trust to avoid probate for any property at all; it could be real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, etc.
  • Payable-on-Death: This is available only for Bank Accounts. You can decide to avoid probate for the money in your account by adding a “payable-on-death” (POD) designation to bank accounts.

For various reasons different persons avoid probate. Some common reasons include time factor, the stress involved, lack of privacy, etc.

  • Time: The probate process could be time consuming. It could take weeks, months and even years to complete. So individuals who wouldn’t want their loved ones to stay that long before getting their inheritance will take proper measures to avoid probate.
  • Stress avoidance: People put plans in place which will help to avoid the process of probate when they die just to reduce the stress of their loved ones
  • Privacy: ones a will filed for probate is validated by the probate court, the will becomes a public document which can be accessed by anyone who is interested. This makes the total worth of the estate public; the way which the testator wishes for his estate to be distributed among his heirs is also public.

Is probate worth it?

With the stress and other factors involved in the probate process, to some extent probate is still worth it and it’s necessary. Some reasons why probate is worth it include:

  • The probate process allows for the passage of assets and titles from the dead person to their loved ones – heirs and beneficiaries-.
  • If the estate has creditors which needs settlement, without the probate process, these creditors cannot be paid as there won’t be available funds to settle them. Until the court validates the will through probate, funds remain locked up.
  • It makes the estate of the deceased accessible to his heirs and beneficiaries. Without probate the assets of the deceased remains out of reach of does who are supposed to benefit from it.
  • The probate process is necessary to authenticate a will. The probate court uses the probate process to ascertain if a will is actually the last will and testament of the testator.

It is necessary for individuals whose assets are much and there are high chances that their will could be contested.


Question: are there estates which are not subject to probate?

Answer: yes! Not all estates are subject to probate. There are assets known as non-probate assets and there are those that are probate assets. Non-probate assets include those which are jointly owned, assets which have designated beneficiaries like assets in a trust, assets in life insurance policy, etc. Also, assets which are below a certain amount are not subject to probate. For instance in New York, assets below $30,000 is not necessarily probated.

Probate attorney near you

When writing your will or planning your estate by yourself, you might miss out some vital steps which would help you avoid probate. This is where a probate lawyer comes in. a probate lawyer is one who serves in a probate court. They represent heirs, beneficiaries, creditors, etc.

A probate lawyer will guard you through the process and steps involve in writing your will in order to help you avoid probate. Our probate lawyers are always available for consult and hire. Reach out to us today

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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