When an individual dies in New York or any other state, the executor of the estate is called upon to settle the deceased person’s affairs. The executor can either be appointed by a court or appointed by the deceased individual in a will or through a trust. Whoever is chosen to serve in this capacity has a variety of responsibilities such as paying off debts, inventorying assets and filing tax returns.
Depending on the complexity of an estate, it may be a good idea for an executor to hire an attorney to help settle it in a timely manner. It may also be worth considering if an individual has trouble with time management or has trouble managing conflict. It is not uncommon for family members to get into arguments over the value of an asset or over other parts of an estate plan.
If an individual held assets in a trust jointly with a surviving spouse, it may be necessary to update the trust. The deceased individual will typically be replaced by an adult child or other trusted party as a joint trustee along with the surviving spouse. If assets had a beneficiary designation attached to them, they may also be able to pass to an heir without the need for probate. Avoiding probate can help to save time and money while reducing stress for all interested parties.
The use of a living trust could allow assets to pass quickly and privately. It may also protect assets from creditor claims or from other challenges. Generally speaking, the terms of a trust go into effect immediately, which means that it could be beneficial while a person is still alive. An attorney may be able to help create or administer an estate plan regardless of its complexity.