Whether you have modest means or exorbitant wealth, you most likely want to choose who will get your assets in the event of your death (and how). Perhaps you wish to provide for your loved ones or perhaps you want to leave your assets to a charity (or charities) you are passionate about. Perhaps both. Having a Last Will and Testament is a good way to ensure that your assets are passed in exactly the way you choose.
A Last Will and Testament allows you to choose a guardian for your children, which is perhaps the most important feature of a Will for most parents of young children. It also allows you to appoint the person who will act as the executor of your estate. Your executor will carry out the wishes that you outlined in your Will; they will be responsible for collecting your assets, paying your final debts, and distributing the remainder of your estate to your designated beneficiaries.
It is important to have a Will even in the event that your estate plan includes probate avoidance techniques (such as trusts, jointly owned property, and IRAs) because a Will acts as a safety net for any assets that may fall through the cracks.
If you die without a Will, New York State law will dictate who takes your estate and who serves as your estate representative. The outcome of New York’s statutory scheme may or may not align with your wishes, so it is important that you establish (or update) your estate plan to ensure that your estate plan meets your wants and needs (and not what the state assumes them to be).
Please read our next post on estate planning: Do I Need a Power of Attorney?
Call us to discuss your estate plan with an attorney today: (716)-262-9694