Archive for January, 2010
What Assets Are Governed By The Terms Of A New York State Will?
In New York, some of your assets will be distributed pursuant to the terms of your Last Will and Testament and others will not. Typically, a Will only has the legal capacity to distribute assets such as homes, bank accounts and shares of stock that were only in your name, when you passed away. Assets that do not typically pass through a Will include jointly held assets or assets that have a named beneficiary such as life insurance, jointly held bank accounts, retirement accounts, and living trusts. Those types of assets are distributed directly to the named beneficiaries or joint owner without passing through the Will, but are still a part of the taxable estate.
Why Do I Need A Will In NY State?
One of the most important reasons why you need a Last Will and Testament is to protect your children in the event you should die while they are still minors. In your Will you can choose an appropriate guardian to care for them until they reach an age of maturity. In New York, if you pass away without a Will, the State will appoint a guardian for your children. Do you really want New York State determining the fate and future of your minor children?
No minor children? A Last Will and Testament is also important to have in making distribution decisions. A Will allows you to tell the world how you wish to dispose of your possessions (house, money, jewelry, etc.) upon your death. Choose who should be a beneficiary. Without a Will and your possessions are distributed pursuant to New York State Law.
Moreover, in a Will you can designate the person who you rely on the most to manage the money. You may want to place it in a trust to be distributed upon your death to whomever you chose and at whatever age you think is appropriate. This is particularly important if you are trying to insure that your money goes to your children or children from a prior marriage that may not be in line to receive anything if you pass away before your second spouse.
Finally, but not exclusively, having a properly drafted Last Will and Testament in New York can save you and your spouse from paying any unnecessary New York State and Federal estate taxes. This enables you to pass on more of your hard earned money to the people you love.