The Benefits of Having a Will
Drafting a will allows you to determine how your estate will be divided once you pass away.
A will supersedes the state law of inheritance, so your decisions about how your assets are split will be honored.
Drafting a will allows you control over many areas that may be important to you, such as:
- Naming a guardian of your minor children, should you and your child’s other parent both be deceased;
- Donating money to a specific charity;
- Dividing your assets among family members as you see fit; and
- Deciding on an executor of your will as executor is the appointed representative to the estate.
Another benefit of having a will is having the bond requirement waived. Often an administrator of an estate must post a bond to guarantee the faithful performance of his duties. Having a will in places waives that requirement.
If You Don’t Have a Will
Dying intestate, or without a will, means your estate is divided according to state law of inheritance instead of according to your wishes. Intestate estates can be stuck in court for a long time, as the court needs to appoint an administrator, inventory your assets, and go over your family tree to determine your living relatives and how they may inherit your property. If your family was reliant upon the money or assets of your estate, they may be forced to wait a lengthy period of time to receive it while the court sorts everything out.
Law of Inheritance
If you pass away without a will in place, your estate goes through court and your assets are divided according to the state’s inheritance laws. Generally speaking, in the absence of a will, your estate will be divided as follows:
- If you are married and your spouse is living: Your spouse inherits the entire estate.
- If you have children and your spouse is no longer living: Your children inherit the entire estate.
- If you are married and have children, and your spouse is still living: Your spouse inherits the first $50,000 plus half of the remainder of the estate, and your children inherit any remaining money plus the other half of the remainder of the estate.
- If you have surviving parents but no spouse and no children: Your parents inherit the entire estate.
- If you have siblings but no surviving parents, no spouse, and no children: Your siblings inherit the entire estate.
- If you have adopted children, they would be entitled to an inheritance just like any natural-born children would.
Surrogate’s Court is located in every county of New York. It hears cases involving decedents, including probate, where a will is read and proved to be a real will written for a person that is truly deceased. It also hears administration cases, which involve a decedent who passed away intestate. The court appoints an administrator, whose duties are like that of an executor of a will.
Contact an Attorney to Draft Your Will or To Represent You as an Executor or Administrator of an Estate
Thomas M. Denaro, Esq. has over three decades of experience in many areas related to law, including the drafting of wills and representing executors and administrators. He can use his extensive knowledge of the state’s laws regarding wills and estates to draft a will for you or represent you as an executor or adminstrator of estate. Mr. Denaro also offers fixed fees based on the nature of each case as well as affordable payment options. If you need help with your will, call Thomas Denaro today at 718-863-6000.