Anyone who has recently filed a probate or administration proceeding in any of the Surrogate's Courts in New York City, have experienced the long and protracted delays brought on by a combination of reduced staffing, an extreme rise in the number of deaths brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the backlog caused by forced Court closures.  During the past eighteen months, we have filed dozens of estates for probate and administration, almost all of which are uncontested or unchallenged, only to have seen their conclusion delayed for well over one year.  The result?  Delays in transferring to beneficiaries the intended bequests of the testator.

What is Probate?

Probate can be a complicated and costly process to begin with, but, when a will is prepared properly and where none of the beneficiaries are contesting its provisions, then probate should be a matter of months to complete.  Instead, we have seen dozens of estates delayed needlessly.

The men and women who work for the Surrogate's Courts are dedicated public servants who want to do their jobs efficiently and effectively, but they are clearly understaffed and presently overwhelmed.  

If the delays that these estates have experienced have taught us anything, it is that there must be a better way to handle an estate.  The short answer is, there is.

A Living Trust may be the answer

Avoiding probate delays is one of the most important characteristics of a living (or revocable) trust.  A living trust or a revocable trust, is an effective probate avoidance tool, designed to insure that your estate goes to whom you want it to go, without the need for any court intervention.  It provides for an orderly, and efficient transfer of assets to your beneficiaries, without the need for probate court.

A living trust is a cost effective alternative to the delays caused by probate, and the essential element of our 3 Pillar Probate Avoidance Plan.  To learn more, schedule an appointment today.

Ted Alatsas
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Brooklyn, New York Trial Attorney Practicing Family Law, Elder Law, Asset Protection and Bankruptcy Claims
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