Most people who do not look into the subject very deeply assume that estate planning involves the execution of a last will. If you use a last will to state your final wishes with regard to the transfer of your property it is not immediately distributed to the heirs. The estate must go through the probate process before the heirs receive their inheritances.
Probate takes place under the auspices of the Surrogate’s Court here in the state of New York. The estate is going to go through the full probate process if you have probate property that is valued in excess of $20,000. There is a simplified probate that can be applied for if the estate in question is valued at less than $20,000.
Probate is in place to provide certain protections, but it comes with some significant pitfalls. For one thing, everything that takes place during the probate process becomes a matter of public record.
Anyone who was interested could obtain the probate records and find out what took place. This loss of privacy is problematic for some people.
There are also considerable expenses that can be incurred during the probate process, and this is another drawback. In addition, probate can be quite time-consuming. Very simple cases will take months, and more complicated cases can take multiple years.
It is possible to avoid probate. There are a number of different ways of doing this. One of the most commonly utilized probate avoidance tools is the revocable living trust.
With a revocable living trust you as the grantor may act as both the trustee and the beneficiary while you are living. As a result, you don’t lose control of the funds, and this is comforting to many people.
You name successors to assume these roles after your passing. You could name an individual to act as trustee, but it is also possible to name a professional fiduciary such as a bank or a trust company.
When you name a professional fiduciary entity to act as trustee you know that the assets will be administered in accordance with industry best standards. In addition, you don’t have to worry about the trustee passing away.
After you die the trustee will distribute assets to the beneficiary or beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes as stated in the trust agreement.
If you take the time to create a living trust your loved ones will receive their inheritances in a timely manner outside of probate. Should you be interested in learning more about living trusts we would be glad to provide you with a free consultation. To request an appointment you can give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us through this website.