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How to Avoid Probate

Long Island Estate Planning & Probate Attorney

Due to the fact that probate can be a costly and lengthy process, some of our clients wish to arrange their estates in such a manner that they avoid probate. Other clients want their beneficiaries to have access to their inheritance faster, thus we show them how to avoid probate. At The Law Office of Michael J. Brescia, P.C., we understand that every client and every estate is different. What may work for you, may not work for a close relative or a friend. We can help you arrange your assets so they avoid probate in whole, or in part depending upon your wishes.

Probate is the court supervised process of validating a decedent's will and settling the decedent's personal and financial affairs. If there is a will, an executor named in the will is appointed to manage the estate and without a will, the court appoints an administrator to settle the estate. The executor or administrator is responsible for paying the decedent's bills and taxes, defending any lawsuits, and distributing what's left to the beneficiaries. Probate ties up property, thus some people elect to avoid the process to allow for a faster distribution of assets.

Defining "Probate Assets"

"Probate assets" are those that belong to the decedent exclusively and pass through a will. In order to avoid probate, you need to rearrange your assets so they aren't subject to probate proceedings and therefore pass outside of a will.

Assets that pass outside of probate include:

  • Assets held in a living trust
  • Joint ownership of property
  • Payable-on-death designations for bank accounts
  • Transfer-on-death designations for securities
  • Retirement accounts with beneficiary designations

    Revocable Living Trusts

    In New York, revocable living trusts are excellent tools for avoiding probate. You can fund the trust with virtually any asset you own including real estate, bank accounts, and automobiles and so on. You can serve as the trustee of your trust during your lifetime and appoint a successor trustee to take over after you pass. This is crucial – you must transfer ownership of your property to yourself as the trustee. Once the trust is properly funded, your trust property is controlled by the terms you set forth in the trust.

    Essentially, by arranging your assets so they pass automatically to a beneficiary or so they are held within a trust or jointly with another person, you can avoid the hassle and expense of probate.

    Contact a Long Island Probate Lawyer Today!

    For more information about estate planning and avoiding probate, contact a Long Island probate attorney from The Law Office of Michael J. Brescia, P.C. We have an in-depth understanding of New York's probate laws and can help you rearrange your assets so they avoid probate.

    Contact our Long Island estate planning firm. Please call (631) 386-8767 today!

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