5 Ways You can Avoid Hiring a Long Island Probate Lawyer
One of the first questions a person asks when a loved one dies, is if they will need a Long Island probate lawyer. In most cases, they will be beneficial and help the process move along more smoothly. However, if you and the other heirs have an effective plan, you may be able to proceed through the process without the need for legal assistance.
The one thing to remember is that at any point, if you feel you cannot handle something or are not knowledgeable enough about a matter, you can always get a lawyer on board.
Who needs the probate process and what is it for?
Upon a person’s death, their property and possessions are distributed to heirs according to the terms laid out in their will. That sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But when the estate is large, there are lots of other things that need to be factored in and handled prior to getting to the will. Every bit of the decedent’s property and possessions have to be assessed. A lot of people think that if there is a will, then there is no need for probate. This is simply not true. Every asset and piece of property has to be assessed, debts must be paid (including taxes), and then once all the financial matters have been handled, the heirs get what they were granted in the will. A Long Island probate attorney can help an executor and make sure everyone gets what they were designated via the will.
But what if I want to avoid going through probate?
Lots of people prefer to avoid the having to work through the probating process, if it is possible. It has a reputation of being a long, drawn-out process. And that’s true in many instances, especially without the assistance of a Long Island probate attorney. Typically, the process can be completed in three or four months, and that is if everything goes perfectly as planned. But it certainly can take as long as a year, maybe even longer depending on the specifics of the estate. It’s a long time for a family of heirs to wait, and even more difficult on them if they were relying on the estate for some form of income. The process becomes even more complicated if anyone decides to contest the will or the way things are being handled.Another reason a lot of people want to avoid the probating process is money. For those who are supposedly going to benefit from an estate, it can be costly, especially for the estate. These costs often dip into what the heirs were counting on. Things like the cost for legal representation, newspaper announcements and bond premiums all come out of the finances of the estate. These expenses can be astronomical, particularly when an estate is large. However, even smaller estates working through the probating process can incur a lot of financial loss.
5 Ways You can Avoid Probate
Each estate is unique, but in general, there are some steps that can be taken to avoid the probate process. Here are five ways you can ensure your estate doesn’t get caught up in a lengthy probate.
Revocable Living Trusts:
If you want to make sure your assets are distributed in a timely fashion, create a living trust. Speak with an attorney from Long Island for more advice on how a living trust can be set up so it benefits both you and your heirs.
IRA & Personal, Retirement Accounts:
If you didn’t set up your retirement accounts as payable-on-death, it can still be done. Request a form from the company and choose a beneficiary. When you die, the account will automatically pay out to them.
When you own property jointly, it will automatically pass to the surviving owner when you die.
When a property meets the requirements of a “small estate” they can forego the probating process.
Give Property Away:
If you give property away while you are still living, the recipient will not have to worry about it going through probate. These properties are still subject to gift tax, but once it is in someone else’s possession, it’s not subject to probate upon your death.
No matter how large or small your estate, it can eat up enormous amounts of time, become confusing, and cost you financially. If you want to get more clarity on your situation, enlist the help of a financial advisor. Obtaining the assistance of a probate attorney in Long Island is also beneficial. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.