Many New York residents do not like to think about the notion of having to prepare their final wishes--after all, estate planning conjures up feelings of planning for one's own death. While preparing a will may seem like a morbid task, the last thing anyone in New York wants to happen after they've died is to have their final wishes not honored.
The problem that comes with not conducting proper estate planning is the questions that will arise surrounding these issues for the estate. If there are family members or potential heirs left behind, family squabbles may occur that can literally drag on for decades through the court system. Even if someone does not have an actual "estate" per se, there are still many considerations to be made--making sure bank accounts, insurance companies and other financial instruments are taken care of.
One of the best reasons to make sure that your affairs are in order is to prevent someone else from making decisions on your behalf after you're gone. If there's no will or direction in place for after you die, a probate court could be left to make decisions on everything from where your money goes to who raises your children.
Additionally, not having a will in place can lead to significant loss of assets if the courts are left to decide who gets what. As well, with issues surrounding the estate tax always in a state of flux, consulting with professionals now will help anyone preparing a will determine what the best options are for their assets today. Preparing a will is always a good idea regardless of an individual's age, as this will avoid many disputes and squabbles or statutory disbursement of significant assets upon one's death.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Estate Planning And Other Existential Agitations," Debra Ollivier, Jan. 5, 2012