Only assets held in the name of the decedent only may be probated. These may include houses, bank accounts, vehicles, business, other personal items, etc.
There are specific assets which never goes through the probate process:
- Assets held in a trust
- Jointly held assets with rights of survivorship
- Retirement accounts
- Accounts with payable-on-death clauses
- Insurance proceeds and other accounts with designated beneficiaries.
What is Small Estate Administration?
Small estate administration is more or less a simplified approach to settling an estate worth less than $30,000 in New York. Here, the petition filed will not be for probate but for a small estate. This goes simply and smoothly and hardly ever requires an attorney’s professional involvement.
Steps involve in probate process.
- Filing a probate petition to a probate court.
The first step to implementing the details of a will is initiating a probate proceeding in a probate court. The estate’s executor placed in charge by the deceased or anyone is in possession of the last will can perform this action. The court at this time would then determine whether the will is real and admissible to the court. Witnesses or estate lawyer who may have been involved in the creation of the document when the deceased was alive are asked questions to verify if indeed the will was created by the deceased. Signed affidavit and other documents makes this process a lot easier.
- Appointing the executor of the will
The court on admitting the document as the signed will by the deceased would appoint an executor or administrator to oversee the probate process and settle or implementation procedures. Typically, the deceased would have named a preferred executor to oversee the estate. The individual could be probate or estate attorney, a surviving child or relative. The court does ahead and issue a document known as a letter of authority to the executor, signaling that they have they can act and take certain decision towards implementing the will.
Note: the executor or estate representative would usually act in manner that would have been pleasing to the deceased. Following the desires and wishes of the deceased as stated in the last will.
Sometimes bonds are signed by the beneficiaries and also the executor. Bonds are usually put in place, as insurance measures should the estate’s executor actions whether intentionally or unintentionally opposes the deceased wishes leading to loss of assets or financial loss.
- Locating assets named by the deceased in the will.
Once an executor has been appointed, his first task would be to locate the assets named by the deceased in the last will. The deceased may have assets in states other than New York, even unknown to his families or children. It is the duty of the executor to locate each estate properties. Although, this might take some little detective work and lot of time, a probate attorney can help through the process. Furthermore documents relating of bank accounts, share and other financial, investment accounts to be given to named beneficiaries must be obtained.
- Contacting creditor and paying off debts.
The executor must send out notification to the deceased creditors. This may involve publishing the death of the deceased or sending out texts to known creditors. This would help quickly settle any dents owed by the deceased. It is important to note that actions must be to settle any debt only within chosen periods after notifying the creditors.
Also, once the creditors have been paid, the executor would proceed to paying off other debts, such as medical bills, or cost incurred during the probate processes.
- Filing tax returns
The tax return on the deceased estate must be calculated and recorded to determine if the estate is liable to estate taxes. This usually applies to the first nine months after the death of the deceased. Once determined, the executor proceeds to paying the taxes from funds obtained on the estate.
Note: the date of death value of the deceased assets must be obtained through either bank statements or appraisal and submitted to the court. Most state just like the New York require the executor of the estate to itemize all the decedent’s assets and properties along with the date of death values.
- Distributing the assets properties.
It is important to note some of the estate might have been sold or used to raise funds to pay off debts, creditors, taxes and expenses incurred during probate. Thus, the probate attorney or executor proceeds to sharing the remaining estate.