A will is one of the basic documents that you will need for your estate planning. If you die without a will, New York State Intestacy laws will dictate the how your estate shall be distributed in addition to the method of making such a distribution. This can have dramatic consequences.
A will allows you to make decisions on distributing your property following death. With a will you can:
- Name your beneficiaries, who will receive your property.
- Appoint a personal guardian to raise your minor children.
- Establish trusts, such as a child\'s trust.
- Name an Executor.
The Executor is the person who you decide to administer your estate and carry out the terms of the will. The Executor:
- Decides whether your estate needs to do through probate.
- Probates the will if necessary.
- For the year following death, takes care of all your property.
- Distributes all of your property.
- Pays all taxes.
- Is responsible for the accounting of the estate.
Why a Will is Important for Estate Planning
Even if you decide to distribute most of your estate through other vehicles, such establishing a living trust, it is still important to have a will. Why?
- If you acquire property shortly before death and fail to make changes to other portions of your estate plan, if you have will, the beneficiary you choose will inherit the asset.
- Name someone to take care of your children under the age of 18.
You may need only a will if:
- You own only a small amount of property.
- Your sole concern is to provide for your minor children.