When you die, any assets you own will be distributed to your beneficiaries per your wishes through the New York probate process. Unfortunately, probate is complicated, lengthy and expensive.
However, it may be possible to circumvent the entire probate process. To accomplish this, you need to plan ahead. Below are a few legal ways you can avoid probate:
Create a living trust
The easiest way to avoid probate is to create a living trust. But unlike a will, which states how your assets should be distributed upon death, a living trust will hold assets on your behalf. This means a trustee will manage your property and assets before transferring them to your beneficiaries. In addition, a living trust will allow you to avoid probate because your assets and property will be under the trust’s name.
Hold property jointly
When you own property jointly, it will automatically be passed on to the other owner upon death. If you want to use joint ownership to prevent probate, you should ensure the property title includes both owners.
Set up payable or transfer-on-death accounts
You can prevent certain assets from going through probate by converting them to payable-on-death accounts. This option is ideal for bank, investment and retirement accounts. However, this strategy can only work if you name a designated beneficiary who will inherit the funds in the event you pass away.
Gift part of your estate
Another great way to prevent your assets and property from going through probate is through gifting. Giving your property and assets to loved ones or organizations automatically removes the gifts from your estate, which means they cannot be entangled in the probate process.
Although a last will and testament is a great estate planning tool, it won’t prevent your estate from going through probate. Therefore, consider getting legal assistance if you’re concerned about the probate process and want to avoid it.