NY Wills – Why you need one and the Role of an Executor

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

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.
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