and Your Family
Bronx Probate Property
Probate property is the part of your estate that is subject to probate. Probate is the process that is managed by your executor under the jurisdiction of the New York Surrogate’s Court during which your estate is settled and your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries according to the terms of your will. However, not all of your property is subject to probate. While your car, clothing, furniture, and bank account may be subject to probate, your 401(k) will not. In order to ensure that your estate will be distributed to your beneficiaries in the manner and timeframe that you expect, contact a Bronx probate property lawyer to discuss your estate planning concerns.Probate property
Property that will be included in a decedent’s probate estate includes most property that the decedent owns solely and that the decedent owns as tenants in common with one or more people. Examples of probate property include:
- Real estate owned individually
- Real estate owned with others as tenants in common
- Bank accounts owned individually
If property is classified as probate property, you have the right to leave it to a beneficiary in your will. If you do not have a will, or if you have probate property that is not mentioned in your will, it will be passed to your heirs based the laws of intestacy. To learn more about intestacy and what happens to your probate property, discuss the matter with a Bronx probate property lawyer.Non-probate property
Property that is not subject to probate is generally property that the decedent owns as a joint tenant, property that is subject to a designated beneficiary, and property that is legally identified as non-probate property. Examples of non-probate property include:
- Joint tenancy property. Because joint tenancy comes with the right of survivorship, your interest in property owned with another person in joint tenancy will go to the other joint tenant upon your death.
- Payable on death bank or financial accounts (POD). The person you name as the POD designee will automatically become the owner of the property in your POD bank account upon your death.
- Transfer on death investment accounts (TOD). The person you name as the POD designee will automatically become the owner of the property in your TOD investment account upon your death.
- Life insurance proceeds. Upon your death, the proceeds of your life insurance policy will go to the beneficiary you named in the policy.
- 401(k) accounts. 401(k) accounts, IRAS, as well as other types of retirements will go to the beneficiaries you designate.
- Property held in a trust. Property that you transferred to a trust during your lifetime will become the property of the beneficiaries of the trust according to the terms of the trust agreement.
Keep in mind that if the designated beneficiary is your estate, then the property will be subject to probate. Similarly, if the designated beneficiary predeceases you, then the property may become probate property. For example, if you have a POD bank account and the person that you designate passes away before you, the bank account will become probate property. The probate court may also get involved with non-probate property if the designated beneficiary is a minor or has some other type of incapacity. As a probate property attorney in the Bronx will explain, it is a good idea to review your beneficiary designations periodically to see if they need to be updated.Avoiding probate
If you are concerned about how probate will affect the winding up of your estate and distribution of your assets, review your estate plan with a probate property attorney in the Bronx. There are strategies such as transferring property to a trust that can help ensure that your beneficiaries receive your property soon after your passing.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
With proper estate planning, you can ensure that your assets are passed to the people you care about as soon as possible following your death. Otherwise, distribution of your property may be delayed due to an extended, complicated probate process. The experienced probate property attorneys serving Bronx at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience developing custom estate plans for clients. We will review your will and other estate documents to ensure that they are consistent with your goals. Keep in mind that it is also important to regularly review your estate plans. Changes in your family such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces, as well as changes to your financial situation and property in your estate may require changes to your will, trust, powers of attorney and other estate planning documents. Contact us at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Manhattan, Long Island, Staten Island, and Westchester County.