The biggest mistake anyone can make is not creating a last will and testament. This fairly inexpensive estate planning vehicle can save your family a substantial amount of issues if it isn’t drafted. For starters, suppose you have a minor you take care of or a special needs dependent. If no will is filed, the state will decide who would be best suited to take care of the dependent. With a will, you have the option to designate a guardian. Suppose now you have property you own and you have no immediate family. Perhaps you want all of your wealth to go to a charity or a distant nephew. With no will in place, the court system may decide to donate all of your assets to the State of New York. Some people may be perfectly fine with this but if you want a measure of control as to what happens with your belongings, you should consider creating a will.
Assuming you may be interested in having a will in place, you will be handed control over the following matters if the will is accepted by Surrogate’s Court:
- Choosing the executor. An executor is an appointed individual who oversees the management of your estate, the distribution of your assets to your heirs, the payment of all liabilities and taxes due using the estate funds, and contacting a New York Probate Lawyer in the event an attorney is needed.
- Choosing a guardian. As mentioned earlier, if you have a minor or a dependent with special needs, without a will, the state will choose their guardian. With a last will and testament, you have the control of choosing who will take care of them. It could be a friend or relative. We advise you speak to this friend or relative first before giving them the responsibility of a guardianship.
- Choosing where your assets go. I think it is obvious that people like to spend and use their money however they choose to. Even in your passing, an individual would typically want to decide where their money goes. Would you prefer it be spent on a local municipality per the states orders or your long time neighbor’s daughter who is struggling to pay for college. With a will, you decide, not the state or a public administrator.
- Specify funeral wishes. Perhaps there is a specific burial ground you want to settle in or maybe you have a set of instructions that should be followed during your funeral ceremony. A will is an ideal place to record these directives.
If you are a resident of Lincoln Square and live in the 10023 area, contact our firm today. Our firm concentrates on estate and probate matters. We represent executors, administrators, grantors, heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors. Call us today at (646) 233-0826.