There can be many benefits to avoiding the probate court process in the settling of an estate, including more privacy. Contacting an estate planning lawyer in New York City is a good first step toward putting your affairs in order as we begin 2011.
This is the first of several posts to our New York Probate Lawyer Blog that will examine ways to avoid the probate court process and the possible benefits and consequences of doing so.
In general, if a decedent has no Will, known as an intestate estate, or if his or her estate is governed by a Will, the estate will go through the probate court process for dispersal to named heirs or living relatives. Some small estates, valued at less than $30,000, may avoid the probate court process.
New York does not follow the uniform probate code, as is in place in some other states, which can make the process longer and more costly in some instances. Establishing a trust in New York or taking other steps to avoid probate, may be to your advantage in many instances.
Other common challenges inherent in the probate process include:
-Identifying and contacting relatives: In cases where spouse and children are present this is not much of an issue. But in cases where a decedent passes away with only distant relatives, tracking down relatives can be an unnecessary headache.
-Lack of privacy: Probate court is a public forum and a family's private finances and other information will become public for all to see.
By creating trust funds and taking other steps to avoid the probate court process in New York, you can ensure that your heirs receive the inheritance privately, with as little cost, hassle and wait as possible. Probate court does a lot of things right -- including ensuring the proper distribution of your assets to your chosen heirs -- but the same may be accomplished in a private, expedited manner with a little forethought and some basic estate planning.
New York City Probate Attorney Jules Martin Haas handles all types of probate cases, including Wills, estate planning, estate settlement, advanced directives and guardianship matters. Please call me at (212) 355-2575 for a free consultation to discuss your rights.