People often ask estate planning attorneys why they need to make a will if they aren’t “rich”? While each person’s situation is unique, there are usually many reasons why everyone needs to have a will prepared. Here are a 5 things that a valid New York will allows you to do:
1. Appoint guardians and alternate guardians over your minor children. This may be the biggest reason for a young couple without many assets to prepare a will who prefer to decide who will take care of their children, instead of allowing a possible fight in court over the issue.
2. Circumvent New York’s default inheritance laws which gives the first $50,000 and half of the remainder to a spouse and divides the rest among the children equally. Many people want the surviving spouse to inherit more that the statutory amount. Others wish to give a little more or a little less to each child. Still others want to include other persons, charities, or organizations in their will. Without a will, New York State decides the fate of your estate.
3. Appoint an executor/executrix over your estate who will be responsible for collecting your assets, paying your bills, and distributing your estate as per your directions. By appointing an executor/executrix in your will, you minimize the risk of your heirs fighting it out in court if they can not come to an agreement. You will also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing who will handle your affairs during this most sensitive time.
4. Not require your executor/executrix to post a bond which, without a provision in a will dispensing of that requirement, may be ordered by the court and may be an unnecessary burdens on the person responsible for carrying out your wishes.
5. Save on estate taxes, especially in New York with a $1 million threshold for filing an estate tax return, by creating a testamentary bypass trust in your will. A bypass trust will allow each spouse to maximize their estate tax exemption amount to the fullest. The proper planning can save couples with assets of over a million dollars a substantial amount in estate taxes.
Remember that wills have very specific execution instructions, and it is crucial to follow them exactly. One simple mistake can completely invalidate a will as if it was never created. For this reason, it is highly recommended, and in most cases indispensable, that an attorney prepare and properly execute the last will and testament.
A good Queens estate planning attorney will not simply draft a will without discussing a client’s current financial, family, and health situation as well as their goals for the future. Only after an extensive and open discussion with a qualified estate planning attorney can you feel confident that your wishes will be carried out in your will and/or supplementary estate planning documents such as trusts, powers of attorney, and health care proxies. An estate planning attorney should also look at your situation from an elder law perspective and should advise you regarding Medicaid issues as well. For a free consultation to discuss drafting a valid New York will as well as other estate planning, elder law, or trusts and estates issues, please contact The Law Offices of Roman Aminov at (347)ROMAN-85 or by visiting www.AminovLaw.com