After receiving many calls from potential clients asking about how to avoid probate, New York Attorney Roman Aminov realized there were many misconceptions about probate so he created an estate planning seminar to help more people. The seminar helps people to understand how to write a will and plan their estate in NYC.
Because clients only have a vague understanding of probate and the probate process, Mr. Aminov says they don’t usually know why they want to “avoid probate.” Information about the probate process is available here.
As with most legal matters, every individual estate planning situation should be discussed with a specialist attorney. Even so, Mr. Aminov says there are general situations it is advisable to avoid probate. In this new estate planning seminar, he discusses ways that New York residents can avoid probate with the help of an estate planning attorney.
During the seminar, four main topics are thoroughly explained:
- Name a Beneficiary on All Accounts. Almost all life insurance policies, brokerage, retirement, and bank accounts allow the owner to specify who will inherit the accounts when they pass away. These accounts are POD (payable-on-death) or TOD (transferable-on-death) to one or more specified beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are specified by filling out the institution’s beneficiary forms. Alternate beneficiaries can also be specified in case the original beneficiaries predecease you. To collect the proceeds after you pass away, named beneficiaries must present their identification and proof of death to collect the proceeds. A Surrogate’s Court proceeding is not needed. If there is no beneficiary form, or if all listed beneficiaries predecease you, the bank requires a probate or estate administration proceeding before releasing the funds to the estate.
- Own Assets as Joints Tenants With Rights of Survivorship. If you own property with someone else as joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS), or as tenants by the entirety (TBE), the property will automatically pass to the other owner(s) when you die. Fortunately, many assets, including bank accounts, investment accounts, and real property can be held as JTWROS or TBE, which avoid probate upon your death. It is important that the ownership papers such as deeds, be properly filled out. In many instances, people assume assets are owned at JTWROS, but they are really owned as tenants in common, and did not pass automatically upon death.
- Create a Revocable Living Trust. A revocable living trust is a signed agreement that allows an owner to manage property while alive, and allows selecting someone else to manage it when you pass away, and therefore avoid probate. When the “grantor,” creates a trust and transfers assets into it, the trustee of the trust (which is initially also you) becomes the legal owner. When one trustee passes away, a successor trustee takes over management and control of the assets in the trust, according to the instructions the grantor set up. Although assets in the name of the decedent alone do go through probate, assets held in trust do not, since the ownership simply changed to another individual. Revocable trusts also allow you to plan for incapacity by allowing someone else manage your assets if you are incapable of doing so yourself.
- Make Gifts. Another way of avoiding probate is gifting away the assets while the owner is still alive. This is generally not recommended since it leaves the client at the mercy of the beneficiaries, who are generally not under any obligation to return the gift. There are also significant tax and long term care consequences which go along with gifting away assets during life. It is important to speak with an estate planning attorney before gifting away any assets.
Contact Roman Aminov through his office at the numbers below, or visit the website to learn more about the seminar or other estate planning matters.
Law Offices Of Roman Aminov- NYC Estate Probate Lawyer 260 Madison Ave #204, New York, NY 10021 (212) 201-9299
Law Offices Of Roman Aminov 147-17 Union Tpke, Flushing, NY 11367 (347) 766-2685