People across the globe covet New York real estate, and many of the city's condos and homes are passed down from generation to generation. It's a common misconception that when a New Yorker dies, their real property is automatically transferred to surviving heirs, but the truth is a bit more complicated.
Transferring New York Property
A will allows you to specify who will receive your assets and property upon your death. If someone passes without a will in place, their estate is subject to state intestacy laws.
New York intestacy laws award the surviving spouse the entire estate if there are no other descendants. If there are descendants, the surviving spouse receives the first $50,000 plus half of the estate's value. The remaining value is split equally amongst descendants. If there is no spouse, the descendants split the estate equally.
If you do have a will, your estate will be distributed accordingly. However, your assets are still subject to probate—which can be time-consuming and costly.
How to Avoid Probate
You can protect your assets from probate by creating a living trust, allowing you to dictate what happens to your estate upon your death while maintaining control during your lifetime.
Another way to avoid probate is by establishing a co-owner of your condo or home with "rights of survivorship," which means the surviving owner takes sole ownership upon your death—no probate necessary.
The state of New York does not allow transfer-on-death deeds for real property.
The Big New York Exception: Co-Ops
Unlike other real estate, a co-op is a building owned by a corporation. Co-op owners purchase shares of the building, not the actual apartment. Co-op boards must approve all tenants and have the right to refuse tenancy as they see fit.
In some cases, heirs who inherit co-op shares may not be approved for residency. They must then sell their shares, with the sale pending approval by the co-op board.
Consult Mykyta Law
Leaving your New York property to loved ones doesn't have to be a gamble. Contact Irena Mykyta at Mykyta Law for guidance on New York estate planning, transferring property, the probate process, and managing real property across multiple states.
Protect your legacy—and your heirs. Call (646)884-3319 for a free phone consultation today.
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