Probate court proceedings can take several months to resolve, placing a financial burden on beneficiaries and family members while they are going through the grieving process. While there are several ways to avoid going through probate, all of them require the property owner to take action before his or her death.
Ways to Pass on Property Without Going Through Probate in New York
Each state offers different ways to legally transfer ownership of property after death without going through probate. It is vital that your estate plan is compliant with state laws, especially if it was created in another state. For example, New York does not allow transfer-on-death deeds for vehicles or real estate, so these assets will go through probate if your estate plan is not updated.
Common ways to hold or transfer property to avoid the New York probate process include:
- Living trusts. The State of New York allows residents to create a living trust for nearly any type of asset, including houses, properties, vehicles, and bank accounts. Your attorney will create a trust document, nominate a successor trustee, and transfer ownership of the property into the trust. You will serve as the trustee until your death, and the successor trustee will take over the trust without probate court proceedings.
- Co-ownership. Any property that allows a right of survivorship can be passed directly to another person who is also listed as an owner. New York allows two forms of joint ownership, depending on the owner’s relationship to the deceased and the type of property. Tenancy by the entirety allows legally married couples in New York to pass on co-owned real estate to the surviving owner without probate. Property held in joint tenancy automatically passes to the surviving owners when one owner dies, regardless of the relationship between owners.
- Beneficiary designations. Some assets allow owners to name a beneficiary to the account, allowing the beneficiary to inherit without probate. New York law allows owners to add a payable-on-death (POD) designation to bank accounts, as well as a transfer-on-death (TOD) designation to stocks, bonds, and other securities.
Our attorneys can help you with all matters relating to estate planning, probate, and estate litigation. Contact us today through our online form to set up an initial consultation with a probate attorney.