Are you asking yourself: Do I need a Will during this time? The answer is a resounding yes. A Last Will and Testament (“Will”) is one way that you can provide instructions for the distribution of your property after you die. Below are some examples to help you determine when a Will may be beneficial for you.
Do I Need a Will if I Want to Override the Default Rules?
If you do not have a Will, then New York state provides a set of rules for the distribution of your property. Click here for distribution of property without a Will. Essentially, if you are survived by a spouse, then the spouse gets the pot. If you are survived by a spouse and children, then your spouse gets the first $50,000 and then splits the rest with the kids. You may want to create a Will if you want to give your spouse everything or disinherit the spouse completely and provide nothing. You may also want to create a Will simply if you want to override the rules. For example, let’s say you have three children. One of the children is married but you do not trust her/his spouse. You can create a Will with a Trust inside of the Will so as to protect the money from the child’s spouse.
What if I Want to Ensure that my Non-biological Child will Receive a Share?
New York states treats adopted children, non-marital children, posthumously conceived children, step-children, and foster children differently. Click here for explanations of how each type of non-biological child is treated. You may want to create a Will if you are concerned about the inheritance rights of your non-biological child after your death.
Do I Need a Will if I want to Make Charitable Bequests?
New York state law does not provide for any automatic gifts to charity. If you want to make a charitable donation, then you will need a Will.
What if I have Minor Children?
If you are a young parent, then you are probably concerned with what will happen to your minor children if you and your spouse die simultaneously. You can use your Will as an opportunity to nominate who could be the guardian of your minor child or the trustee of a testamentary trust established under your Will. Click here for more information on who can be an appropriate fiduciary.
When you Want to Maintain Control After Your Death Through use of Trusts.
If you are concerned about vesting complete control in your heirs, then you can continue to maintain control through the use of trusts established under your will.Just remember one thing – if you do create a Will, be wary of leaving it in your safe deposit box!
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