Ways to Avoid the Time and Expense of Probate Court

Hiring an Elder Law Attorney can Prevent the Expense of Probate Court for Families in Long Island, NY

probate paperworkEveryone wants to pass on something to their children or other family members. You want everything that you have saved to go to those you love. The last thing you want is to give what you have worked so hard for to the government by paying out numerous probate fees. Even more so, you don’t want your family members to wait months (in some cases, years) to receive their inheritance.

Avoiding the issues of probate court (along with the costs) is much easier than you might realize. With the help of an estate planning attorney in Long Island, NY, you have a few options at your disposal.

Top Three Ways to Avoid Probate Court

1. Create a Living Trust

The easiest and most common way to avoid probate court is to establish a living trust. A living trust is the alternative to a living will. A living will distributes your assets upon death, but a living trust holds the assets and property in the trust. The trustee who manages these assets is someone whom you select, and the trustee works for the benefit of your beneficiaries.

A living trust avoids probate, because your assets are owned and distributed by the trust – not your estate. There is no need to probate a will with a living trust, which saves your beneficiaries an extensive amount of money and time.

2. Naming Beneficiaries on Designation Forms

When you create a new bank account, sign up for a retirement account, or another financial account, you are handed a designation form. In this designation form, you pick a person to inherit the account in the event of your death.

A living will does not handle these types of accounts; therefore, these items would not pass through probate court if they had designation forms already completed. The bank account you have open now most likely has a beneficiary designation; so, it is in your best interest to review that designation and ensure that the person whom you selected is still the desired recipient.

Many people do not take the time to name a beneficiary for their bank accounts. It only takes a few seconds. If you have not named anyone, visit the financial institution where you bank or have retirement and investment accounts and designate someone.

3. Joint Tenancy with a Right of Survivorship

Another way to avoid sending real estate through probate is to hold that property jointly. You can do this with a significant other or a spouse. Owning the property jointly allows it to pass to your spouse or partner automatically upon your death.

If the property is not defined in ownership clearly, however, you may not be able to pass it to a spouse. It is best to consult with an attorney before assuming your family home or any real estate you own can be passed this way, because some state laws specifically prohibit such actions.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in Long Island Today

If you want to avoid the pitfalls and costs of probate court, speak with an estate planning attorney. An attorney can review your estate and suggest cost-saving methods for avoiding probate. Schedule a consultation today with the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. by calling 516-605-0625 or request an appointment online.

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