Can You Avoid Probate In NY?

How does probate work in NY?

In New York State, probate proceedings are held in the part of the court called the Surrogate Court in the district where you lived when you died. Your assets, property and possessions are referred to as your estate. The representative appointed by the court is called the executor. The legal documents that make this person your executor are called letters testamentary.

Now the probate process can be confusing and speaking with an experienced NY probate lawyer is the best way to ensure all the proper actions are taken, there are some general guidelines for how you can safely and legally avoid probate in New York.

Add a beneficiary to your accounts

Most financial accounts including bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement account and life insurance policies allow you to specify the beneficiary. The account can be set up to be Payable on Death or Transferable on death to the listed beneficiaries.

Joint Ownership

Property that is owned under joint ownership with rights of survivorship or tenants by the entirety will be automatically passed to the beneficiary.

Revocable Living Trust

Revocable living trusts are a special trust that allows an individual to manage their assets while they are alive and then a named individual manages the property after the creator passes away.


Although not recommended for every situation, giving gifts is another way to avoid probate. When your assets are gifted to another individual then ownership is transferred legally.

Avoiding probate can be a huge time and money saver since it is not an inexpensive process. There are various fees that can add up but the basic filing fee at the surrogate court breaks down as follows:

Estates Value                      Surrogate’s Court FIling Fees:

Less than $10,000$45
$10,000 – $20,000$75
$20,000 – $50,000$215
$50,000 – $100,000$280
$100,000 – $250,000$420
$250,000 – $500,000$625
$500,000 +$1,250

Get a free consultation with the local estate planning experts at:

Roman Aminov Esq. Estate, Probate & Elder Law of Queens 147-17 Union Tpke, Queens, NY 11367 (347) 766-2685

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