Estate Planning in New York: Frequently Asked Questions
Proper estate planning is essential for any responsible adult. Although the process can be complex and confusing, thoughtful estate planning decisions can bring much-needed peace of mind. As an introduction to the topic, compiled below is a list of frequently asked questions and answers on the subject of estate planning in New York:
What is a will?
A will is a legal document that directs the disposition of certain assets that owned by a person after his or her death. A will addresses only those assets that are solely owned by the decedent at the time of death. Other assets, such as property that are jointly owned by another person, assets in trust accounts, and assets that have a specifically designated beneficiary, such as life insurance proceeds, pensions, 401(k) plans or IRA’s, pass outside of the will.
Do I need a will even if I do not have many assets?
Everyone needs a will in order to express his or her desire about the disposition of assets and guardianship of minor children. A will is especially important for someone with children. In the event that your minor children outlive you and your spouse, your will establish the plan to be followed with respect to the guardianship and financial support of your children.
What happens if I die without a will in New York?
If you die intestate (without a will), your assets will pass as directed by state law. State law provides that assets will pass to the decedent’s spouse and children. In the event that the decedent had neither a spouse nor children, then the assets will pass to the nearest close relatives, such as parents. If the decedent had no close relatives, then the assets will pass to the state of New York.
When should I update my will?
Your will should be updated after every major life milestone, including the birth of a child, a child reaching the age of majority, divorce, a change in financial status, or the inheritance of property.
What are the legal requirements for making wills in New York?
A valid will is a document that is made by someone who is over the age of 18 who is of sound mind and memory. A valid will must be in writing, signed by the testator, and signed by at least two witnesses.
Can I make changes to my will after it is signed?
A will can be modified or revoked at any time. In order to make changes, you can either make a codicil or amendment to the existing will, or you could revoke your previous will and created a new one. Consult a New York estate planning attorney if you have any questions.
Is a handwritten will valid?
A handwritten will is acceptable in limited situations, such as when a military service member, or other individuals who are accompanying a U.S. military unit, drafts the will while in combat.
What is a trust?
A trust is an arrangement whereby one person, the grantor, gives the property to another person to be held for a third person, the beneficiary.
Have Questions About Estate Planning in New York?
The New York estate planning attorneys at Alatsas Law Firm, have the skill and experience to fully satisfy all of your estate planning needs. Contact the skilled attorneys at Alatsas Law Firm today at (718)-233-2903.