Probate can be a difficult process in New York. In most cases, it’s wise to avoid the probate process. It may result in an outcome for your estate that does not match your preferences. While death is scary to think about, everyone should plan for what happens to their estate after they leave the mortal coil.
Downsides of probate in New York
If you are dealing with a potential probate or are concerned about your own estate in the future, it’s good to understand what the downsides are to the process. Some are very significant. This includes:
- significant court costs and various fees
- potential loss of control for the deceased
- delay in beneficiaries receiving their inheritance
- lack of privacy due to the public nature of court records
- it can be very stressful for the family
- it can feel very intrusive for your family
- it can take a very long time to complete
- it can seem complex and confusing for family
Avoiding the probate process
With all the significant downsides, many people try to avoid probate entirely. There are several estate planning strategies for doing so. They include:
- having an estate that is below $50,000 in value
- setting up a living trust to pass on assets to beneficiaries
- passing on assets to a co-owner
- using “transfer on death” or “payable on death” designations
- utilizing life insurance
If these strategies are not used, the estate will enter probate. If there is no valid will signed by a testator, who ends up with what could be left up to the judge. There are also other benefits to consider for the strategies outlined above. With a living trust, for example, the grantor pays the taxes on the funds. The beneficiaries do not.
Overall, probate can be long, hard and frustrating. If you want to save your beneficiaries the trouble, consider your options regarding estate planning to avoid the worst parts of the probate process.