The average time it takes for an estate to go through probate in New York is 9–18 months. You can speed up the process through certain estate planning strategies and by keeping your estate plan updated and organized.
Organizing your estate plan
Organization is essential for effective estate planning. You need to record your passwords, pin numbers and other valuable information that your executor will need to process your estate. Some testators forget to include their social media passwords and inform their heirs of what they want to do with their social media accounts. You might want to close your social media profiles or keep them up for the memories, but your executor needs access to carry out your wishes.
Making a list of your assets and debts in a spreadsheet is helpful in speeding up the probate process. By law, executors must pay off certain estate debts and give creditors time to make claims against the estate. After they resolve any required debts, they can distribute the remainder among your heirs in line with your wishes.
Estate planning strategies
Most financial accounts allow you to name a beneficiary. When you do this, the account will automatically transfer to your beneficiary after your death, which will eliminate the need for it to go through probate. Similarly, you can look into transfer-on-death deeds to transfer real estate to your beneficiaries immediately after your passing.
Life insurance policies are another estate planning tool that aids in skipping probate. Payable-on-death designations are also possible with many financial accounts if you’d like to split the proceeds between more than one beneficiary. Some credit unions offer this estate planning strategy.
How well you set up your estate plan impacts how long probate takes for your heirs. A longer probate process is not only more stressful but also more expensive. You must keep your estate plan optimized, updated and organized to prevent any hiccups.