Most wills need to be taken to probate court, even if no one wants to contest it. The process involves reviewing the will in its entirety, sniffing out any errors, finding the value of certain assets, and establishing its overall validity. While this is certainly a useful procedure, it often takes far longer than most people would like. Depending on the size of the estate and the number of your inheritors, probate could take weeks or more to finalize, meaning any pieces of inheritance can't be distributed until then.
Four Ways to Avoid Probate
If you would like to skip probate – either to benefit your loved ones or to avoid paying court-related costs – you do have your choices. With an experienced probate lawyer, you can go over several considerations that might allow you to avoid probate, such as:
- Joint ownerships: You can establish parts of your estate, especially businesses, as part of a joint ownership with a relative or partner. They will assume full ownership on your passing.
- Living trusts: More or less created to avoid probate, living trusts allow you to assign ownership directly to a trustee upon your passing. That trustee can then distribute the property to appropriate parties without probate.
- Pay-on-death accounts: Bank accounts and retirement funds can be immediately transferred to a chosen beneficiary through these means, rather than being collected in your probate estate.
- Gifts and donations: You may be able to simply donate or gift valuable assets to others before your passing to avoid probate.
If you need help creating your will and setting up your estate so that it can avoid probate, the Long Island probate attorneys from The Law Office of Michael J. Brescia, P.C. can provide you with personalized and dedicated assistance. We have been serving our community for years with all matters involving estate and probate law. Contact us today to schedule a