December 05, 2022

How Much Does an Estate Have To Be Worth To Go to Probate in NY?

Estate planning is crucial to leaving behind documentation and explicit instructions concerning your possessions. This makes the process of administration easier whether the estate goes into probate or not.

Navigating the complicated world of probate is made easier with proper legal guidance. Strazzullo Law Firm specializes in New York state probate law and can provide advice and assistance.

Probate in New York

Probate New York statutes dictate that an estate must be valued at a minimum of $30,000 to be entered into probate when there is a will. For example, if a mother leaves her estate with personal effects, a vehicle, some clothes, and a property worth $250,000 and has left a will behind, this estate would be entered into probate.

The reason here is that it’s necessary to validate the will before the distribution of assets can begin by the named executor and also because the total valuation is within the range for which probate is the required step.

Probate cannot be administered by a person under the age of 18, and the executor must meet with court approval and cannot have been convicted of certain categories of crime.

Estate Worth

Estates worth between $50,000 and $500,000 are required to go to probate, and those between $500,000 and $1,000,000 also likely have to go through this procedure.

An Estate Under $50,000

When a loved one has passed away, it’s important for a judge to determine whether the estate will go into probate.

New York state probate law determines that estates that fall under the value of $50,000 don’t need to enter into this process. These amounts can vary based on the county and will also increase based on whether the person is married or has children.

An Estate Over $500,000

Probate is conducted to confirm a will, and in cases where there is no will, it must also go to probate by default. If, in a hypothetical scenario, a father left behind no will and named no one as an administrator, and held $500,000 in assets – these would go into probate.

This is because the court would have to decide who to task with the position of executor and because the asset valuation falls within the state criteria.

An estate attorney in Bay Ridge is invaluable in assisting with the required protocol in planning your estate and ensuring the proper paperwork is filed correctly. Also, if the executor or the survivor, securing legal representation can ensure inheritances are administered according to the law.

Assets Not Qualified for Probate

Certain classes of financial assets don’t qualify for probate. These can include:

  • Pension plans, but it’s important to note that these are, nevertheless, passed down to heirs.
  • Investment accounts of varying types also don’t need to go into probate, such as IRAs and 401(k)s. Life insurance policies may pay out a death benefit with cash value that must be distributed among inheritors but doesn’t need to go through the courts.
  • Real estate is also exempt from this process unless the property title in question is held in tandem between the decedent and someone else’s name jointly.
  • If the items of interest have no monetary value, however, they do not need to pass through probate but can be transferred directly to the family.

Another function that probate performs is ensuring that the debts of the deceased are paid prior to the administering of the assets to the various inheritors. These proceedings occur in an arena called Surrogate’s Court and happen in the county in which you reside.

It’s vital that the executor file the original will along with a signed petition that lists the date of death, named beneficiaries, and estimates how much the estate is worth. This must be done while not under duress or undue influence and with the soundness of mind. The executor is then responsible for collecting debts, making sure bills and taxes are paid, making pertinent investments, and delivering assets to inheritors.

No matter what you are into, want to avoid probate, or are about to face probate for someone’s estate, call us to discuss the specifics of your situation to know more about New York state probate rules. Our Brooklyn estate planning attorneys will be committed to helping you throughout the process.