Probate Process 101

Date posted: July 9, 2015



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There is quite a lot to understand when a person passes away. Probate, trusts, estate planning, will drafting, knowing what to do, and how and when to do it- we can help navigate these difficult waters for you. Long Island probate attorneys at Schwartz, Fang, and Keating are here to help you understand the probate process, examining exactly what takes place during probate. While some people wish to avoid the probate process, below you will also find information on why and how the probate process can be avoided.


 

Examining The Probate Process?

Probate is the process in which a person’s estate is settled. Perhaps the most important aspect of the probate process is the validation of the deceased person’s last will and testament.

The executor is appointed during the probate process and assets of the deceased are essentially frozen in order to assess their value for the estate. If there is a last will in place the executor will be assigned according to the deceased person’s wishes. If there is no will to name a person or the named person is incapable or unwilling to act as executor of the estate the court will appoint someone. The executor will then oversee settlement of the deceased person’s final debts and assigning legal title to property is formally from the deceased to his or her beneficiaries and heirs.

 

Avoiding the Probate Process

Probate may be avoided if all of the deceased person’s assets were transferred to a living trust during their lifetime or if they are jointly owned. A living trust is often considered a means to avoiding probate.

There are some types of property that can routinely pass outside of the probate process altogether, even without the cost of establishing a living trust. Such property includes life insurance or retirement plans that pass to a named beneficiary by designation rather than pursuant to a will. Real estate or bank or brokerage accounts that are held in joint names with right of survivorship are also considered property that can avoid probate.

 

Understanding Your Rights and Working The Process Right

Our probate lawyers will help you understand the process and ensure an organized accounting of your assets and establish a plan for your estate. We have over 30 years of experience in these areas and helping people to handle their loved one’s final wishes and settling their estate. It can be a very difficult time when a loved one passes and you are handling their estate and your emotions- that is why working with compassionate, effective, and professional New York estate and probate lawyers is such a great help to you. Contact us today, we’re here for you.