Probate is a word that conjures both confusion and concern in New York residents. Though most individuals understand that probate has to do with what happens to a person’s possessions after they die, many individuals do not have a deeper understanding beyond that simple definition. Depending on the circumstances of a decedent’s life and estate, their probate process can become very complicated and may be unmanageable by their loved ones.
Estate and probate attorneys can be valuable assets to families who have questions about how probate will affect their loved ones’ estate plans. This informational post does not provide any legal advice. When readers have questions about how they should handle the probate processes of their own loved ones, they can speak with their trusted estate planning lawyers about their options.
What is probate?
When a person dies, they may own property that must be transferred to their relatives and chosen beneficiaries. If they have a will, they likely have included their intentions for the distribution of their property in that testamentary document. Without a will, an individual’s property will pass based on the laws of intestacy of New York to closely related family members first.
Probate is the process through which property transfers happen after a death. Not all estates have to go through the legal process of probate, and many individuals plan their estate so that they can avoid probate and its associated costs. Probate can take a long time to resolve and may have expenses associated with it, which therefore encourages many individuals to plan to avoid it.
When does probate becomes complicated?
Probate does not have to be a complicated process, but it often gets difficult when certain factors are introduced to the process. For example, if family members do not agree on the interpretation of a will or do not believe that it will accurately represents the decedent’s wishes, they may challenge it in probate. Similarly, if an estate has an exceedingly high value, there may be associated taxes and costs that must be properly addressed in order for the estate to be released from probate.
When these and other complications arise, families may worry that they are doing the process wrong. They can benefit from retaining probate attorneys to help them along the way. Lawyers who work in the estate planning and probate fields of law understand the specific rules that apply to New York probates and what must happen for them to have timely and complete resolutions.