A Will is a crucial element of estate planning. It allows individuals to have a final say in how they want their estate settled; who will receive personal property and valuable assets; appoint an estate administrator; and designate guardianship for minor children.
Having a Will in place can assist in the prevention of family disputes. In addition to naming heirs and beneficiaries, this document can also be used to disinherit direct lineage heirs. Legal Wills can expedite the probate process, which is required in all 50 states unless inheritance Queens, NY Estate Administration Attorney is protected through a trust. While it’s best to have a last will and testament executed by a probate lawyer, individuals with small estates can use alternative options. Preformatted Wills can be downloaded via the Internet or purchased in office supply stores. Individuals fill in the blanks, obtain signatures from two non-family witnesses, and have the document notarized.
Individuals with estates valued over $25,000 should retain the services of an attorney or estate planner. The cost of drafting a last will is minimal and can be priceless to loved ones who must endure the probate process.
Probate is used to validate Wills and ensure decedents’ final wishes are granted. Upon death, the Will is recorded through probate court and becomes a matter of public record. The designated estate administrator is responsible for settling the estate according to state probate laws. Inheritance property cannot be distributed until approved by a judge.
Retaining the Services of an Estate Planning Lawyer
Probate generally takes 6 to 9 months. Much depends on the assets involved, as well as family dynamics. When heirs are in agreement, the process can be completed more quickly than when heirs fight over who should receive inheritance property. Drafting a last will is relatively simple, but does require some time. Retaining the services of an estate planning lawyer can expedite the process. The first step involves taking inventory of everything you own and declaring who receives the items upon your death.
- Individuals who have purchased burial plots and life insurance policies should state where documents are located within their last will and testament. Information regarding financial portfolios, real estate, bank accounts, and titled property can also be included within the Will.
- It is best to retain an original copy of the Will in a secure place. Most people use a bank safe deposit box or fireproof lockbox. It is a good idea to provide a key and copy of the Will to the designated estate executor or provide them with contact information for the estate planner who drafted the document.
- Many people procrastinate about executing a last will. When individuals die without leaving directives, the probate court decides who receives inheritance property and who manages the Queens, NY Estate Planning. Known as intestate probate, this process usually requires more time and attention and adds additional stress to loved ones during a difficult time. This can be prevented by investing a few hours of time to inventory property and record who will receive it.
Certain Types of Inheritance Property
Certain types of inheritance property can avoid probate by designating beneficiaries. Bank accounts, retirement accounts, financial portfolios, real estate, and titled property can be exempted from probate by establishing transfer-on-death, payable-on-death, and joint tenancy beneficiaries. These forms can be obtained by the financial institution holding the property or including beneficiary names on the recorded title.
Many banks and credit unions offer estate planning services to their customers for a nominal fee. Most probate lawyers and estate planners offer complimentary consultations to help individuals determine which inheritance protection strategies are best suited for their personal needs.