You probably do not want your heirs to have to wait around forever to receive their inheritances. It is important to understand all of the facts regarding asset transfer methods, because the way you proceed will make a difference.
If you use a last will to facilitate the distribution of your assets after you pass away, the executor that you nominate would be required to admit the will to probate. This is a legal process, and it is in place to provide certain protections to interested parties. In the state of New York where we practice law, the probate process is supervised by the Surrogate’s Court.
The state does its best to provide an efficient process, but it does take some time to run its course, and the heirs to the estate have to wait it out. They do not receive their inheritances until after the estate has been probated and closed by the court. In New York, this will take eight months to a year at minimum; complicated cases can take longer.
If you would prefer to speed things up, you may want to consider the utilization of a revocable living trust instead of a last will.
When you establish a revocable living trust, you can act as the trustee and the beneficiary while you are living. As a result, you continue to control the assets in the trust, and you can revoke or rescind the trust if you ever choose to do so, so you retain complete control of the assets throughout your life.
You name a successor trustee to handle the trust administration tasks after you are gone when you establish the trust declaration. You also name successor beneficiaries who will receive monetary distributions, and you leave behind instructions with regard to the way that you want the assets distributed.
The successor trustee would follow these instructions and distribute assets to your loved ones after your passing. Since these distributions would not be subject to the probate process, in many cases, the beneficiaries can start receive inheritances in a timely and efficient manner.
We should point out the fact that there are other types of asset transfers that would not be subject to the probate process, and there are different types of trusts that can be used by people who have more complicated inheritance planning objectives.
Since you have so many choices, you should certainly discuss all of them with a licensed inheritance planning attorney so that you can provide for your loved ones in the optimal manner.
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