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The importance of a will in the probate process

For those who desire to take care of their loved ones even after they are gone, an estate plan can be quite helpful. Proper estate planning usually contains a will

Some may not be aware of how important a will is to the probate process, or they may not fully understand what a probate is in itself. These are key aspects to learn if you desire to properly plan for the future of your beneficiaries.

Probate definition

There are several laws that govern the maintenance and distribution of estates in the state of New York, and probate is a part of that process. In short, probate is a legal process that validates the distribution of an estate. It accounts for all assets of an estate, ensures the payment of all taxes and settles all debts with creditors. 

Assets

There are certain cases where a probate may not be a requirement, or specific assets may receive exclusion from the probate process. A few of the more common assets courts may not consider in a probate include:

  • Assets in a trust
  • Retirement benefits
  • Certain jointly held properties
  • Life insurance policy proceeds

Depending on the situation, there are additional assets that may not be in a probate. A knowledgeable attorney can help to identify such items in your estate.

The will

The will is a strong determining factor in how the courts designate the distribution of an estate during probate. If a will is in place, the account executor submits the will to the courts for the probate process. The courts consider any challenges to the will as is, and determines whether it is valid. They then execute wills they deem valid. On the other hand, the court makes all designations about an estate if a will is not present.

As you can see, a legitimate will is essential to a proper estate plan. Take some time to review or create your estate plan to ensure the proper execution of your desires once you are gone.

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