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Why Is It So Important to Have a Will?


You’ve certainly heard the adage that it’s important to “have your affairs in order,” but perhaps you’ve continued to put it off. Maybe you have a life insurance policy, and have named a beneficiary on your financial accounts and think that’s enough? You may want to reconsider. Below are some reasons that having a will is a great idea.

A will saves your family the time and expense of intestate succession

When you don’t have a will, you are forcing your family to go through the process of distributing your possessions according to the rules of intestate succession. Under New York state law, your belongings will be divided between your spouse and children, with a large sum going to the spouse off the top. Additionally, it is likely that a relative will be appointed as administrator of your estate, forced to handle the distribution of your belongings in what can be a difficult process. Your heirs will also need to pay a bond before the estate is distributed, to ensure that the administrator does not misappropriate any funds or possessions.

Working with a skilled estate law attorney will help your heirs avoid hefty taxes on their inheritance

An experienced estate planning attorney will know how to convey your assets in a way that helps those inheriting it hold onto more of it, rather than receiving a highly diminished portion after the government takes a substantial share. You can also discuss the creation of trusts with your attorney as you map out how you wish your estate to be distributed, which will offer the opportunity to pay out funds more gradually over time, or set funds aside for a specific purpose, such as a college education.

Distributing your possessions according to intestate succession offers no opportunity to give to people or causes you care about other than your immediate family

When writing a will, you have an opportunity to give to the charitable causes or religious or educational institutions that have meant a lot to you through your life – an opportunity which you lose without an estate plan. You can also give to more distant family members or close friends who would not receive a share through the intestate process, but who have been as significant to you as closer relatives. Additionally, if you and your spouse know that your spouse will be well cared for without receiving a large portion of your estate, you may leave a smaller share than he or she would receive through the intestate process.

For assistance in creating a reliable New York will, contact the Hudson Valley estate planning attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello for a consultation on your will, at 845-331-4100.

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