Suffolk County Wills Lawyer Helping Clients Write or Update Their Wills in New York
Most people do not want to think about making preparations for what should happen to their assets after they pass away and end up procrastinating on the task of getting their last will written. However, having a valid last will is an essential step and can save your loved ones from unnecessary headaches and delays while making sure your wishes are respected. Learn the basics about wills in New York and why working with a Suffolk county wills attorney is the right choice for you.
What Is a Will?
A will is an essential estate planning document that allows an individual to have an official written record of their wishes for what should happen to their assets after the individual passes away. The will contains important information such as a list of assets (including everything from real estate to investment accounts and personal belongings), a list of beneficiaries, and a description of how the assets should be divided among the beneficiaries.
The will also typically includes the name of the person that is being appointed as a personal representative (also called an executor). This person will be in charge of managing the decedent’s estate and taking it through the steps required to probate the estate and distribute assets to heirs. The will can also include guardian designations for any minor children and even appoint a new owner for any pets the decedent may leave behind.
Do You Need a Will Even if You Are Not Wealthy?
Contrary to popular belief, having a written, valid will is important for everybody – whether you are a young college student or getting ready to retire. In addition, the size and complexity of your assets do not matter – wills are not reserved for the wealthier slice of the population and can work for anybody, regardless of their net worth.
If you only have a vehicle, a handful of personal belongings, and a pet, you can record your wishes for who should receive those items after you pass away. If your estate is more complex and has high-value assets, then having a will is extremely important to make sure your property is divided according to your wishes and that no family conflicts arise in the process. It may be worth sitting down and talking to an estate planning attorney who focuses on wills to get answers to your questions and learn what you need to do to get started writing your will.
What Happens if You Die Without a Will in New York?
If you die without a will in the state of New York, you will have died intestate, which means any assets you may have left will be divided according to New York’s laws for the descent and distribution of a decedent’s estate. In other words, the probate court will look at who your surviving relatives are and refer to the intestate laws to distribute your property accordingly. Your closest living relative will likely be responsible for filing for estate administration – usually a spouse, child, or sibling.
For example, if you died and left a spouse and no children, your spouse will likely inherit everything. If you left a spouse and children, the spouse might inherit the first $50,000.00 plus half of whatever is left, and the children may inherit the rest – and so on. In a few rare cases where the decedent has no surviving family members, the assets may go to the state of New York.
The bottom line is while the New York intestate laws seek to help distribute the decedent’s estate to their blood relatives in a similar way the individual would have done if they had written a will, the laws can and often do differ drastically for a person’s true preferences for property distribution. Suppose you have a relative who you do not wish to include as a beneficiary. In that case, you won’t be able to exclude that person from inheriting your assets without writing a will and specifically adding that exclusion to your will. The only way to have your assets distributed in accordance with your wishes is to write a will and ensure it is valid and kept updated.
Do I Need an Attorney to Write My Will?
While you are not required to have an attorney in order to write your will, you may still want to consider seeking the help and knowledge of a Suffolk county wills attorney to make the whole process easier. Knowing what to include in your will or where to even begin can be overwhelming, but a skilled estate planning and wills attorney can easily walk you through the process, ensuring your will is customized to your unique estate planning goals and that it will work as intended when the time comes.
Whether you are new to the process of writing a will or have gone through major life events (such as a divorce or the birth of a child or grandchild) and need to update your will, you can always count on the Law Office of Gina M. Pellettieri. Attorney Gina M. Pellettieri and her legal team have helped countless clients in Suffolk county to write or update their wills and preserve their legacy for the next generation. If you have not written your will yet, it is best to stop procrastinating and get it done – simply call the Law Office of Gina M. Pellettieri at 631-250-3698 to get started.