You have worked hard all or your life for the assets you have. When you die, you want to make sure that your property goes to the people that you have selected. Without a will, your property will go to the persons that the State of New York has dictated through intestacy laws. In your will, you can set out who your property goes to. If you have minor children, you can name the people that you would like to raise your children if you should die and set up a trust for the assets left to the children. Through a trust, you can have your children's money managed until they are old enough to receive the money outright. Through the selection of an executor, you can determine who will be in charge of making sure your assets are distributed according to your will.
What to consider when planning a will?
- Do you have specific things that you want to leave to people such as jewelry?
- Who would you want your estate to be left to? If you have a child you predeceases you, but another child or children are still alive, would you want your deceased child's share to go to their children or be split among your remaining children.
- If you have minor children, who would you want to raise them and be in charge of their money if you died? At what age, would you feel comfortable with your children receiving their inheritance outright, free of trust?
- Who would you want to serve as your executor, the person who makes the filings with the probate court and distributes your assets according to the will?
A probate estate is all the assets a person owns at his or her death that are subject to probate administration. Probate administration is the process of proving to a probate court that the will is genuine.
The following types of assets comprise a probate estate:
All assets held in the decedent’s (deceased person’s) name alone.
All assets the decedent owned as a tenant in common with one or more other persons. A tenant in common holds property together with other tenants in common. However, none of the tenants automatically inherit the shares of a tenant who dies. Each tenant holds an equal share of the property unless the property title specifies otherwise. When the decedent dies, his or her share becomes subject to probate.
All assets payable to the estate either because the estate is the designated beneficiary or the asset has no designated beneficiary. Examples include life insurance on the deceased and employee benefits.
Amounts owed to the decedent before death but paid after death. Examples include the decedent’s last paycheck, and other amounts due to the decedent’s estate by reason of his or her death, such as an award from a wrongful death lawsuit.
Household items, jewelry, and other items that don’t usually have a title (unless the decedent has, in writing, declared them to belong to his or her revocable trust during life).
At Seebold Law, we are well versed in estate planning and handling the estate once you or a loved one has passed. We welcome the opportunity to talk to you as you plan or help you deal with the death of a loved one.
If you need to discuss your estate and plan your will, you may wish to contact our office for a consultation.