There are people that think that they do not need a will because the state will step in and take care of everything appropriately. In fact, there are some very good reasons why everyone should have a will or some other estate planning document, and we will give you a quick rundown in this blog post.
The Condition of Intestacy
If you pass away without a will, the condition of intestacy would exist. Under these circumstances, the Surrogate’s Court would supervise the estate administration process during probate. A personal representative would be appointed to serve as the estate administrator.
Final debts must be paid during this process before the assets can be distributed, and this would be part of the equation. Ultimately, when everything is in order, the court will allow the personal representative to distribute the assets in accordance with the New York intestate succession laws.
Each state is somewhat different with regard to their rules, but in New York, if you pass away with children but no spouse, your children would be the sole inheritors. The situation is reversed if you have a surviving spouse but no children.
Should you have a spouse and descendants still living, your spouse would inherit the first $50,000 of your intestate property, and half of the rest. Your children would receive the other half of the property.
Your parents would inherit everything if you die with no children or spouse, and your siblings would be in that position if you had no parents, spouse, or children surviving you.
These eventualities may not be consistent with your true wishes. For example, let’s say you have one brother that was abusive to you that you haven’t seen in 40 years. You have many close friends but you have no spouse, parents, or children still alive.
In spite of the obvious, your brother would be your soul inheritor if you die without a will.
This is an extreme example, but many if not most people would want their spouse to inherit everything and decide what to leave to the children when the time comes. When you digest this information, you can see that unintended negative consequences could come about if you pass away intestate.
Plus, even if you would be okay with the outcome under these rules, the person or people that are in line would have to play a waiting game. Probate will typically take somewhere in the vicinity of a year to run its course under these circumstances. No inheritances could be distributed during this interim.
Download Our Estate Planning Worksheet
We have prepared a very useful worksheet that you can use to gain a more thorough understanding of the estate planning process. If you take the time to go through it, you will invariably come away with a more informed perspective. It is being offered free of charge right now, and you can visit our worksheet download page to get your copy.
Attend a Seminar
Written information is great, and we urge you to take advantage of all the fantastic resources that we offer on this website. This being stated, there is really no substitute for a direct interaction with a licensed estate planning attorney in person.
We are glad to be able to tell you that there are some fantastic opportunities to do just that coming up in the near future. Our attorneys are holding a series of seminars, and they cover everything that you need to know in a concise and easy to understand manner.
There is no charge to at all, and we receive very positive feedback from people that have attended our seminars. They are being held at multiple locations in the greater Albany area, so you should be able to find a location that is quite convenient for you.
Though these seminars are complimentary, we ask that you register in advance, because space is limited. Simply take a moment to visit our seminar schedule page and follow the simple instructions to reserve a seat for the session that you would like to attend.