Everyone should have a last will and testament tailored to their specific situation. If you pass away without leaving a will designating an executor, you have died intestate, and your assets will be distributed in accordance with New York law (EPTL 4-1.1). The distribution of your estate among your living relatives will then be determined by their relationship to you and by the intestate succession laws of New York.
Types of Wills
Wills can be divided into four main categories: living wills, testamentary trusts, simple wills, and joint wills. Every type has a specific purpose and is designed to address unique demands and circumstances.
The most common type of will is the simple will. Simple wills specify how you want your assets handled, how and where they should be distributed, and usually name an executor or trustee to manage your estate. Your executor will be in charge of carrying out the instructions in your will, filing the required court documents to begin the probate process, handling particulars like notifying banks and government agencies of your passing, and filing your final tax returns. When the estate administration process is completed, your executor will oversee collecting and distributing your property.
Testamentary Trust Will
A testamentary trust is a specification in your last will and testament that instructs the executor of your estate to create the trust. After your death, your will proceeds through the probate process to determine its validity. Once the probate process is complete, the trust becomes active, and your executor transfers the assets into the testamentary trust. It is important to note that more than one testamentary trust can be included in your last will and testament.
Joint wills are created by two or more people and include separate wills for each individual. They are most commonly used by couples who want to name each other as the sole beneficiaries of their estate. In the case of a joint will, the couple writes two nearly identical wills, each naming the other as the sole beneficiary. Once created, these wills cannot be changed, making them problematic if either person's wishes change or the couple divorces.
Living wills are written to provide legal instructions about your preferences for medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Drafting a Living Will can help ensure that you get the medical care you want, and assist caregivers in the decision-making process. Illness and end-of-life situations can happen at any age, not just to the elderly, therefore everyone should have a living will.
Trust Our Attorneys to Help You Plan
Our skilled lawyers can assist you in selecting the ideal will type for your circumstances and guarantee the validity of your document. We can make sure that your living will or last will and testament takes into account all the important details to make the probate process go more smoothly.
Client Won CustodyAs many of you may know legendary singer/songwriter Aretha Franklin died in 2018 without leaving a will. Other wealthy celebrities such as Prince have done the same. This can lead to many types of unwanted consequences. As an example, the T&E department at PCS is currently ...
Brothers Inheritance RestoredAfter much litigation including more than a dozen depositions, obtaining numerous medical records and various other relevant documents, expert medical testimony, and the beginnings of trial preparation, an estate dispute was settled on behalf of our client for $700,000. Our ...
Porch Will Matter ResolvedIn another important, yet smaller financial matter, we recently settled a will contest where the decedent's will was signed and witnessed …. on his front doorstep. It was argued that the proper legal formalities were not followed in the execution of the will in this case and ...
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Client Won CustodyDying Without A WillAs many of you may know legendary singer/songwriter Aretha Franklin died in 2018 without leaving a will. Other wealthy celebrities such as Prince have done the same. This can lead to many types of unwanted consequences. As an example, the T&E department at PCS is currently ...
Son Must Repay Mother’s EstateEstate CaseA local man and his then-wife used undue influence on his elderly mother to clean out the woman’s bank accounts before she passed away, a Schenectady County Surrogate’s Court ruled this week. The verdict, in a case brought by the woman’s two other sons, means the man and his ...
Brothers Inheritance RestoredEstate DisputeAfter much litigation including more than a dozen depositions, obtaining numerous medical records and various other relevant documents, expert medical testimony, and the beginnings of trial preparation, an estate dispute was settled on behalf of our client for $700,000. Our ...