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How can I avoid probate?

Did you know that when you die, your estate does not have to go to probate in New York? While many estates do, it is not required if you ensure everything is in proper order before you pass away. According to The Balance, there are few options you can use to help prevent your estate from having to go through probate.

You can use joint ownership on your accounts and property. Having joint ownership makes things rather simple because upon your death, everything simply and legally transfers to the surviving owner. This occurs naturally for many things if you are married. Most of your property and assets will go immediately to your spouse without concern. There are some drawbacks to joint ownership. The accounts or property are considered the other person's assets, too, so if he or she gets divorced or files bankruptcy, you could lose them. You also lose control over what happens with the assets after you die, which means you cannot provide for your other heirs. 

Another option is a revocable living trust. This gives you more control while also allowing you to provide for your heirs. It covers you while you are alive and after you pass away. You must transfer all titles and assets into the name of the trust, though, to help avoid probate. 

Finally, you can designate beneficiaries for your accounts. You may be able to create a deed that also designates a beneficiary for real estate. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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