In many states, including New York, residents can avoid lengthy probate procedures by executing small estate documents. In New York, the Surrogate Courts allow beneficiaries of small estates to file small estate forms for estates of limited value. The New York small estate affidavit procedures allow a decedent’s family members or spouse to file a Small Estate Affidavit or Affidavit of Voluntary Administration. With some legal guidance and estate planning, you may be able to take advantage of this process.
To take advantage of the simplified probate program, your loved one, the decedent, must have passed away with only personal property and/or real property owned in your name as joint tenants. In other words, if your spouse or family member passed away owning property titled only in his name, you may be unable to use the small estate probate procedures. Furthermore, the decedent must have passed away after 1995.
For decedents who passed away between Aug. 26, 1996 and Dec. 31, 2008, you can use the small estate probate procedures if they owned their property jointly with you or another individual who does not intend to dispose or sell their property. Furthermore, the decedent’s personal property within his estate cannot exceed $20,000. After Jan. 1, 2009, the threshold limit is $30,000.
If you qualify, you’ll need a copy of the decedent’s death certificate, an inventory valuating each item of personal property, a list of the decedent’s creditors and personal contact information for the decedent, including the decedent’s name and address. You will also need to have a copy of the decedent’s written will, if he died with a will, and a list of beneficiaries listed in his will and contact information.
Speak with our office regarding whether you qualify for the small estate procedures. We can help you gather your paperwork and inventory your assets.