How To Avoid Probate in New York – Part I

The probate process in New York can involve expenses, time delays and the opening up of family related issues to public scrutiny. There are a number of mechanisms which can be utilized to avoid probate. The following are examples of various types of legal measures which can be utilized to avoid probate:

  • Living trusts. In the State of New York, there are two different types of living trusts. One is a called a revocable living trust and the other is an irrevocable living trust. The difference between the two of them is the revocable living trust can be amended, modified or completely revoked by the individual who made the trust. The irrevocable trust can be amended and modified but it cannot be revoked. It is a permanent document. When these types of trusts are created, you turn your assets over to these trusts. This means you deed the house to the trust. Bank accounts, securities accounts and other investment vehicles can also be put in the trust’s name. At the time of the death of the creator of the trust, the trustee then takes action to carry out the terms of the trust which may involve the distribution of the trust assets to trust beneficiaries. This all takes place without the trust being subject to the probate process. Trusts are private documents. Wills are public documents which, after the individual dies, may be reviewed by anyone in the Surrogate’s Court. The distribution of assets in a trust is not supervised by the court. It is all handled privately. However, if there are challenges as to the manner in which the trust was handled, or the way the assets are distributed, legal action can be undertaken to deal with these issues.probate attorney