If you have a relatively modest estate, it is still important to set up an effective estate plan. Unfortunately, many people with modest estates fail to create estate plans, which often causes their loved ones to experience anxiety and uncertainty after their death.
Even if you do not have significant assets, an estate plan could make life much easier for your family members in the wake of your death and ensure that the court splits up your assets in accordance with your wishes. Familiarize yourself with legal topics regarding small estates in New York and go over all of your options.
Defining a small estate
According to the New York State Unified Court System, small estates involve estates with no more than $50,000 of personal property. It is important to note that personal property does not include real property. If you own real property that is solely in your name, you do not have a small estate.
However, if you and another individual jointly own real property and your personal property does not exceed $50,000, you have a small estate.
Small estate proceedings
During small estate proceedings, the court appoints a voluntary administrator. If you have a will, the executor will become the voluntary administrator. If you do not have a will, the court will appoint the closest heir as the voluntary administrator. The voluntary administrator will gather and distribute assets in accordance with the law.
Sometimes, small estates end up in probate, such as cases involving wrongful death or litigation. Make sure you take steps to protect your assets, even if they are modest, and make the process simpler for those you love in the future.