If you choose not to create a will during your lifetime, you need to realize that you will have no control over how your property is distributed after your death. Each state has its own set of intestacy laws that determine how assets are distributed. If you’re a New York resident, take a look at the following information, to better understand how your property will be distributed without a will. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to create a will, contact an estate planning attorney.
New York intestacy law provides that if you have no children, but leave a spouse behind, he or she will receive all of your assets. If you do have children, and also leave a spouse behind, your spouse will get $50,000 plus one half of the balance of your estate. Your children will share the rest, even minor children. If one of your children predeceases you, and has his or her own children, the grandchildren receive the share that would have gone to their parent.
If there is no surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren, and your parents are the next in line to receive property. If there are no parents, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles, and, lastly, cousins inherit estate assets, in that order.
If you don’t agree with how New York determines distribution, you will need to create a will. A comprehensive estate plan makes it possible for you to have full control over your affairs, as well as the ability to decide who will receive your property.
Don’t assume that your wishes will be respected. Without a will in place, you will have no control. Instead, your state laws and the probate court will make choices for you.
If you have any additional questions, or if you’d like to discuss the benefits of drafting a will and avoiding New York intestacy laws, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.