New York residents are commonly under the assumption that probate is extremely bad and should be avoided. Many people believe that by undergoing the estate planning process, they can bypass probate upon their death. The reality is that probate isn’t always bad.
What is probate?
As a probate and estate administration lawyer may explain, probate is a title proceeding that works to determine who is the rightful owner of various assets that a deceased person had. If the deceased person had a will, the document is to be given to the appropriate local office, and the named executor will be sworn in. At this time, all the deceased person’s creditors and family members who have an interest in the estate are notified of the will. Then, anyone with standing can contest the will within a prescribed time limit.
In the event that the deceased person did not have a will or their will is deemed invalid, the state’s statutes will determine the rightful owner of the deceased person’s property. Each state has its own intestacy statutes that outline which heirs of the descendants receive property. In most states, the property first goes to a person’s spouse and then their children, parents and siblings.
Probate costs money
One of the biggest reasons that probate gets a bad rap from most people is that it does involve fees. While it is a fairly simple and straightforward process, professional fees can be charged by the executor and any other professionals like attorneys who are involved in the estate settlement process. In most cases, these professionals will have a set percentage fee based on the number of assets that the estate had.
While the probate process gets a lot of negativity, it is a logical process that helps to determine who becomes the legal owner of a deceased person’s assets. By understanding exactly what’s involved in probate, it becomes clear that this process can be helpful in dealing with the deceased person’s estate after their passing. If you’re currently thinking about undergoing the estate planning process, it’s always advisable to speak to an attorney to ensure that your heirs’ best interests are looked after.