While learning more about probate in New York, you learn how time-consuming and intricate the process often becomes. How do you avoid putting your estate and beneficiaries through probate?
Forbes offers tips for sidestepping the legal procedure. Take steps to ensure your assets go directly to your heirs without delay.
For all property titles in your estate, consider joint ownership, wherein two or more people have legal ownership of a single property. When one person dies, real estate ownership shifts to the remaining person or persons on the title. Examples of joint ownership include tenancy by the entirety, joint tenancy with right of survivorship and community property with right of survivorship.
While planning your estate, consider shifting financial accounts to transfer/payable-upon-death accounts. With this option, you select a beneficiary to act as a funds recipient when you die. Consult with an estate professional to determine whether New York permits you to list beneficiaries for retirement and bank accounts, real estate and automobiles.
Rather than wait until you die before distributing assets, you may gift them to your intended heirs and beneficiaries while still alive. Because gifting shifts ownership, any assets and finances you gift technically no longer belong to you, which means they no longer exist as part of your estate or qualify for probate. Gifting high-value items and accounts often makes sense, as expensive assets drive up the price of probate and estate taxes. If you like the idea of gifting, research the latest annual gift tax exclusion limit, so you avoid filing a gift tax with the IRS.
Take control of your estate by understanding probate and estate administration. The right moves save you and your beneficiaries time and frustration.