When you plan your estate, you express your final wishes with regard to the way that you want your assets to be distributed after you are gone. This can seem like the long and short of it, but there is another aspect that you should take into consideration when you are creating your plan.
Probate and the Role of the Executor
If you use a last will as the centerpiece of your estate plan, you would name an executor in the document. This is the person that would take care of the hands-on administration tasks after you pass away. Under New York State laws, the executor would not be able to act independently.
Unless it is a very small estate, the will would be admitted to probate, and the Surrogate’s Court would supervise during the administration process. Final debts would be paid, and the executor would identify the assets and prepare them for eventual distribution to the heirs.
Because of the nature of the job, it is important to pick an executor that has the ability to handle these financial-related tasks. You should also consider the age of the person that you name as the executor, and of course, you should make sure they are willing to take on the task.
Most executors do not have any experience working with the Surrogate’s Court. To be sure that everything goes smoothly, you could arrange for our firm to help your executor when the time comes. If we work with you to establish the plan, we will be in an ideal position to guide the executor through the process.
Probate serves a purpose, because creditors are given a chance to seek payment, and the court examines the will to make sure that it is valid. At the same time, it can be problematic for the rightful heirs to an estate.
The waiting game is one major drawback. It will take a minimum of nine months, and no inheritances can be distributed during this time.
There are also a number of expenses that pile up during the process. Plus, the general public can access probate records. Anyone that is interested can find out the details, and this loss of privacy is not very appealing to most people.
A living trust can be the ideal alternative to a last will for a number of different reasons. One of them is the simple fact that assets in the trust can be distributed to the beneficiaries outside of probate.
If you establish a revocable living trust, you would act as the trustee while you are alive and well. In the trust agreement, you would name a successor trustee to take over after you pass away, and your heirs would be the beneficiaries.
Since the trust would own all or most of the assets that make up the estate, the administration process would be streamlined for the trustee. You could include a pour-over will that would allow the trust to become the owner of assets that were in your direct possession at the time of your death.
Once again, we can be called upon to help out when the time comes if your family needs some trust administration assistance. We can advise the trustee with regard to the legal steps that must be taken to administer the trust properly.
A living trust is one of many different types of trusts that are used in the field of estate planning. If you use a different trust, we can provide the same level of assistance when it is being administered.
Take Action Today!
Since you are on this site, you must be interested in putting an estate plan in place. As they say, there is no time like the present. We know that it is difficult to discuss these personal matters with someone you have just met, and we take our relationships with our clients to heart.
When you choose our firm, you will get personalized attention from someone that really cares. If you are ready to set the wheels in motion, give us a call at 212-973-0100. There is also a contact form on this website you can use to send us a message.