What is the best way to avoid probate?

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What is the best way to avoid probate?

The condo was purchased by a husband. Title is in his name only.In his last will he bequeath all his assets to his wife. Will the probate be necessary upon his death?

Asked on January 1, 2013 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Avoiding probate involves more than the title to a single condominium.  Anything disposed by will must go through the probate court.  Some states have special procedures to transfer certain kinds of assets without a full probate of the estate.  You would have to consult a New York lawyer to know if New York has a provision to transfer title to the condo without a full probate.

I always recommend consulting a life or estate planning lawyer to avoid probate.  There are many ways to do this, and only a lawyer can explain those ways and prepare any legal documents necessary to accomplish the plan.  Some examples of ways to avoid probate include naming beneficiaries for every asset that will allow a beneficiary (such as retirement funds, bank accounts, investment accounts, insurance, etc.), placing property in joint names (which requires a deed if the property is real property), giving assets away before death, preparing a living trust, and others.  Each has benefits and consequences.  It is best to consult a lawyer so that you can prepare a comprehensive plan that achieves your goals.


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