As someone who is planning their estate and future legacy in New York, it is likely that you are familiar with payable on death accounts (POD), otherwise known as transfer on death accounts (TOD). They are generally known as a great way to go about avoiding probate on the assets contained within these accounts.
As you consider how to ensure your wishes are known clearly and your financial affairs remain secure, it is often wise to consider assigning durable financial power of attorney to a person you trust.
Drafting a last will and testament is not as simple as scribbling down a few notes on your deathbed and giving it to a trusted friend. In some cases, a handwritten "holographic will" like this could withstand a challenge in court, but an informal will is risky and ill-advised.
Probate is when property is transferred after a person passes away. This legal process has a specific set of requirements in each state. It's a formal process, and you may need to go to court.
People generally create a last will, trust or estate plan to protect their last wishes and provide for their loved ones and causes after death. Sometimes, however, the last will or estate plan ends up looking much different from what everyone in the family or the presumptive heirs expect. When that happens, there is a good chance the will will get contested and end up in New York probate court.
Being the executor of an estate is often a thankless job. The person whose estate you are handling, the testator, may have included a provision for financial compensation for your efforts. When you consider the stress, work and strain on relationships that can result from handling an estate, however, the amount may not seem like enough. Sometimes, being an executor results in no compensation whatsoever.
Have you recently found yourself in the position of executor after a loved one passed? If so, you may be wondering what exactly it is you are supposed to do. Many people find themselves in such a position. Often, they do not know what they need to do with respect to moving the decedent's will through probate. Typically, they are also dealing with the emotional turmoil that comes with losing a loved one.
Being the executor of an estate is a dubious honor. On the one hand, someone you cared for and probably respected believed that you were trustworthy and intelligent enough to handle the estate. After all, it's a complex process. On the other hand, it's a lot of work and stress, often without any kind of extra compensation. Being an executor can strain or even destroy your familial relationships, especially if people in your family don't think the last will or estate plan was fair to them.
There are a lot of things to worry about when someone passes away. Whether it was a predictable passing, such as from a progressive disease, cancer or an accident, there are financial and legal issues that arise after a death. Someone will need to pay off and close accounts, such as utility accounts and credit cards. Then, there's the process of handling the actual estate and distributing assets in compliance with the wishes of the deceased. You may feel like there is less to worry about because the person who passed away left an estate plan or last will. Sadly, that won't prevent serious financial or estate issues.
The loss of your loved one is a difficult time. One of the things that might make it a bit harder is if you are having to go through the probate process to handle your loved one's estate. Of course, even having to go through the probate process is a lot easier than having to handle things if your loved one died intestate.