When a person passes away in New York, and there are assets titled in their name (i.e. a house, an investment account, etc.), then the only way to get title transferred to an heir is through the process called probate. Probate is handled the in the New York Surrogate's Court. The Probate Practice of Akiva Shapiro Law can help you manage the probate process.
If there is a Will, then the Will must be probated. If there is no Will, then the person's assets pass by way of intestacy (meaning no Will).
If there is a Will, then the terms of the Will govern how the decedents assets are transferred to the designated heirs. If there is no Will, then the intestacy laws of the State of New York govern how the decedent's assets pass to the natural heirs.
If there is a Will, the testator (the person who made the Will) can decide exactly how to distribute their assets. The assets can be given to anyone the testator decides, including charities, friends, family, and even pets. If there is no Will, then there is a strict structure of distribution defined by the laws of the State of New York, which start with children and their children, if any, and the spouse, if any. Then move outward and upwards to siblings, parents, cousins and the like. The structure is rigid and required and there can be no deviation.
Even if there is a Will, one restriction is that a person cannot completely disinherit their spouse, unless there is an enforceable pre-nuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement in which the spouse released their rights.
The only way to avoid probate is to either have no titled assets or assets owed to you, or to have all of your assets in some form of a trust, either revocable or irrevocable. An irrevocable trust is more airtight in avoiding probate, and a revocable trust usually is also generally airtight, unless contested. As well, assets held in some types of legal ownership structure don’t pass through probate, such as joint accounts with right of survivorship.
For small estates, the probate process can be relatively quick and simple; for complex estates, it can be long and relatively expensive.
Whether an estate is small or large, simple or complex, Akiva Shapiro strives to aid the executor by streamlining the administration process and headaches, and limiting the estate’s legal expenses to the greatest extent possible.
If you would like your estate to to avoid probate, the Probate Practice of Akiva Shapiro Law can help you. Akiva Shapiro takes the time to understand the details of your assets and income. He works with you to structure an estate plan which satisfies your requirements and meets your goals. Your plan can move your assets out of your estate entirely, or just out of the way of probate, depending on what you want to achieve.
The Probate Practice of Akiva Shapiro Law can help you manage the probate process in the Surrogate's Court of Nassau County, Surrogate's Court of Suffolk County, Surrogate's Court of Queens County, Surrogate's Court of Kings County, and Surrogate's Court of New York County.