Estate planning can be a difficult legal topic to breach with loved ones because it presumes one complicated and uncomfortable fact: the death of the planner. An estate plan is a set of legal tools that direct the disposition of a person’s assets at the time of their death when they pass away. New York residents who have created estate plans may have drafted and executed wills, trusts, and other testamentary devices.
One of the goals of estate planning is to keep decedents’ estates out of probate. Probate is a legal process that involves the collection of a person’s property, an evaluation and repayment of their debts, and a distribution of their assets to their beneficiaries. While it may seem like a straightforward process, probate is something many individuals try to avoid.
Probate is expensive
One reason that individuals hope to keep their estates out of probate is that it can be costly. An estate with a value of at least $500,000 is subject to a $1,250 fee just to file. When probate is drawn out due to questions and legal complications, legal fees and other costs can be added to that sum.
Probate is time-consuming.
Just as probate can be a drain on the financial assets of an estate, it can also take a long time to resolve. Even a simple probated estate may take a few months to process, and when problems and questions arise, those months can drag out into years. A strong estate plan may help a person keep their estate from entering the probate courts.
Probate keeps beneficiaries from inheriting
The longer assets are tied up in probate, the longer beneficiaries must wait to claim their inheritances. Assets may change or lose value during that time, and individuals may become frustrated with the process that should otherwise enable their access to the gifts the decedents’ intended for them. Individuals who want their beneficiaries to receive their inheritances in a timely manner may want to find alternate options for organizing their estates.
Estate planning does not have to be difficult. It is a useful process for all New Yorkers to take on to ensure their assets are distributed as they wish when they are gone. Estate planning attorneys can support the needs of their clients and help them achieve their testamentary plans.