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Westchester County Probate Property

Probate is the legal process that occurs after you pass away and culminates with the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries. Probate is managed by your executor and overseen by the Surrogate’s Court. Only assets that are part of your probate estate will be managed and distributed through probate. It is important to understand which of your assets are part of your probate estate, as it will take longer for your beneficiaries to receive probate assets as opposed to assets which are not subject to probate. Your estate will go through probate whether or not you have a will. In the absence of a will, the process is often referred to as estate administration. To learn more about what part of your estate is part of your probate estate, contact an experienced Westchester County probate property lawyer who will help ensure that your estate plan meets your goals.

Probate property

Probate property is that part of a decedent’s estate that is subject to the probate process. Generally speaking, probate property is any property that is owned by the decedent alone, property that is owned as a tenant in common, and property that does not qualify as non-probate property.

  • Real estate. Real estate that is solely owned by the decedent, or that is owned by the decedent as a tenant in common is probate property and part of the estate that must go through probate.
  • Personal property. By far the most common type of probate property is personal property. Examples of personal property include clothing, jewelry, books, household accessories, furniture, artwork, and vehicles.
  • Financial accounts. Another type of property that is part of a one’s probate estate includes individually owned bank accounts, investment accounts, and similar financial accounts.
Non-probate property

Any property that is classified as non-probate property will pass to the beneficiary outside of the will and outside of probate. As a probate property attorney in Westchester County will explain typically this means that title to the property will transfer a lot more quickly than it would if the property was subject to probate. Examples of non-probate property include:

  • Joint tenancy property. Joint tenancy property means that the property is owned by more than one person and that each person has the right of survivorship. Thus, when one owner dies, the other owners absorb the decedent’s interest in the property.
  • Payable on death bank accounts. Even though individually owned bank accounts are part of the probate estate, if the account has a payable on death or transfer on death designation, the account passes to the beneficiary outside of the will and outside of probate..
  • Property held in a trust. One of the best ways to pass property outside of probate is to place it in a trust. Trusts created and funded prior to death are not part of the probate estate.
  • Life insurance. The beneficiary named as part of your life insurance policy will get the proceeds of the life insurance upon your death, and those proceeds will not be part of the probate estate.
Avoiding probate

Any property that remains in your probate estate once you pass away, whether you leave it to someone in your will or not, will be subject to probate. This means that before the property is distributed to your beneficiary or heir there will be a waiting period while the executor or estate administrator winds up your estate. As a probate property attorney in Westchester County will explain, probate will take a minimum of 7 months. If your estate is complicated, if your will is unclear, or if your estate is subject to litigations, probate may take significantly longer than 7 months. To minimize the delays and costs associated with probate there are steps that you can take to minimize the amount of property that remains in your probate estate.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Probate can be complicated, costly, and time-consuming. If you are concerned about what will happen once your will is probated, discuss your concerns with an experienced attorney. The probate property attorneys serving Westchester County at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experienced representing clients in estate planning matters and will handle your case with honesty, compassion, and understanding. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

Client Reviews
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Mr. Bilkis handled both my father and mother's estate issues through very difficult times he was compassionate kind and understanding. In fact the whole firm showed great empathy. Despite the emotional hard time we were having that quickly and efficiently handle all the matters that were necessary to get us the result we desired. Can't recommend them enough. B.B.
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