If you are young, healthy or both, you might not think you need a will. At the law office of Marcus, Gould & Sussman, LLP, we understand that it is uncomfortable for many New York residents to face the thought of their own mortality. Planning a will or thinking about creating an advance directive may be one of the last things on your mind. However, this simple form of estate planning is vital.
FindLaw points out that there are many reasons to have a will as soon as you reach adulthood. If you die without a will, the state will decide how to distribute your assets if you pass away unexpectedly. This could result in someone receiving an inheritance that you would not want to inherit, such as an estranged spouse or a parent you no longer speak to. If you want your brother to have your sports car and your children to inherit specific heirlooms, the probate court would not be aware of these wishes without a valid will.
Your will would also address a guardian for your minor children, help you minimize your estate taxes and designate a favorite charity. You can appoint a trusted executor to carry out your wishes, rather than rely on a probate judge to make these important decisions. A living will or advance directive address your wishes on medical care and emergency procedures, including how long to keep you on life support, if you are unexpectedly incapacitated. You should also update your estate planning after a significant life event, such as a marriage, divorce or birth of a child.
Estate planning is important, but it does not have to be complicated, as our page on wills and trusts explains.