Unfortunately, your loved one has passed on, leaving you and the other survivors to deal with complex legal and financial issues related to estate administration. If the deceased has designated you the executor of the will, you have a monumental responsibility, especially if the will must go through probate. If you would like more information on what happens during probate in New York, please read on, then contact one of our experienced Putnam County probate attorneys today.
What is probate in New York?
If your loved one made a will, after their death, the will is presented to the court in a probate proceeding. Probate is the court process where, after your loved one’s death, the judge approves the terms of your loved one’s will and gives out your loved one’s assets, property and possessions to their designated beneficiaries. But the latter only happens after your loved one’s debts have been paid off.
How is probate conducted in New York?
Probate involves several steps. The executor must:
- File the original will and a certified copy of the death certificate with the probate petition and other supporting documents in the Surrogate’s Court of the county where the deceased person lived.
- Give notice that the estate is in probate to all creditors, beneficiaries and heirs as required by the court.
- Collect the decedent’s belongings and have them appraised as necessary.
- Pay outstanding debts and taxes, including mortgage payments, home equity loans, income taxes, property taxes and other applicable accounts.
- Distribute the remaining property as the will or state intestacy law directs.
It is possible to avoid probate entirely if certain conditions are met. To fully discuss your options, please do not hesitate to reach out to a skilled Putnam County estate planning attorney as soon as possible.
How do you avoid probate in the Empire State?
Probate may not be necessary if:
- The estate is small: In New York, a small estate or voluntary administration can be filed as an alternative, if the decedent has less than $30,000 of personal property either with or without a will.
- There are no probate assets: There is no need for the probate process if the decedent’s estate consists of non-probate assets, such as:
- 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
- The estate plan was created to avoid probate: Among other methods, you could make a living trust to avoid probate for virtually any asset you own.
You would be well-advised to speak with someone from our firm before you make any major decisions, so please give us a call today.
Contact our Firm
If you or a loved one needs assistance creating an estate plan, contact the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC today.