Five Facts to Know About Probate and Estate Planning

Most people know it’s necessary to make provisions for the distribution of their estates. Although no one wants to dwell on the estate planning process, the fact remains that taking precautions now can save your family members a lot of stress and time in the future. Setting up a detailed will to be carried out in the event of your death will help ensure that your wishes are carried out and the process goes as smoothly as possible. With that in mind, here are several facts to know as you embark on your estate planning journey.

  1. You might need more than one probate.

Generally, probate will need to take place in the state and county where the deceased person owned property. However, if he or she had property in multiple estates, such as a summer home, for instance, a separate probate will need to be filed in every state in which the person has assets to complete the process of transferring property to beneficiaries.

  1. Probate is avoidable.

In some cases, you might be able to stay out of probate court altogether. Some estates are small enough that it is not deemed necessary to register for probate. States have varying guidelines, so always check with a licensed probate attorney. Always examine your legal options carefully before beginning the probate process. For example, you can place you assets in a living trust to avoid the probate process.

  1. Living people can still have probate.

In some rare cases, probate is necessary while the person in question is still alive. In cases of incapacitation, for example, probate goes into effect even if the person is still living. If a person does not have a Health Care Proxy in place, often a family member will have to petition the court for approval. This is why it makes sense to draw up a living will with the help of a Queens probate lawyer. That way, your wishes will be made clear to your relatives and friends.

  1. Not all property goes through probate.

Rules about what must be itemized when undergoing probate can vary, so make sure you check with a professional. Real estate with a transfer-on-death deed set up generally does not have to be involved in probate. Joint bank accounts also are usually not subject to probate.

  1. Probate takes time.

Although you can often begin the probate process as soon as a week after a person passes away, it can take up to several months for probate to be approved by the court. That means you’ll be responsible for any mortgage payments or other debts in the meantime, as well as court and lawyer fees. For this reason, may people choose to avoid probate by placing property in trust for family members.

If you have questions about the probate process or would like to set up a living will, contact the law offices  trusted Queens estate planning lawyer Richard Cary Spivack  for a consultation.