Making a Will in New York State
There are many reasons to make a will, rather than leave your assets to be divided according to New York State laws after your death.
1. You can choose your beneficiaries and decide how much of your estate they will inherit. (Note: If you die and bequeath nothing to your spouse in your will, he or she may claim a portion of your estate anyway, under state law.)
2. You can make donations from your estate to charitable organizations. Without a will, the state laws do not provide for such gifts after death.
3. You can designate the executor and successor executor of your estate, instead of your heirs and a judge deciding who will be in charge of your estate. The court might not choose a person that you would want for the job!
4. You can take steps to reduce the amount of inheritance/estate tax that your estate will pay, with advice on financial estate planning from an attorney or an accountant.
5. You can prevent a painful, costly legal battle among your heirs over who inherits money or assets from your estate. Conflicts over inheritance often cause deep, long-term rifts in families. Money and personal property are sensitive topics, and if disputes begin when family members are in deep grief over their loss, fair judgments are very difficult.
Making a Living Will
In a living will, you set down your wishes to decline medical treatment to prolong life should you become permanently incapacitated. You may also appoint a health care proxy, giving someone you trust the authority to make decisions about your medical care if you are no longer able to do so.
To make a will, living will, or designate a healthcare proxy, call Kelly & Knaplund at (914) 631-2657 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment with an experienced Westchester trusts and estates lawyer.