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Frequently Asked Questions About Wills

Get answers to common questions about wills.

At the Law Offices of Steven M. Adler, PLLC, each of our attorneys have over 60 years of experience practicing law. We provide personalized legal representation and we go the extra mile to ensure that our clients' needs are completely taken care of. Each client that walks through our doors is our top priority and we want you to walk away from your experience with us knowing that you received the best legal representation.

Since the will is the foundation of a solid estate plan, we created a list of frequently asked questions about wills, which is included below. If you would like to learn more about creating an estate plan, we encourage you to contact our office directly to schedule a consultation.

What happens if I die without a will?

If you die without a will, the assets that are held in your name will be distributed during probate by a court-appointed administrator among your closest family members according to New York's intestate succession laws, known as the Distribution Rules of Intestacy.

What if I have young children?

If you die without a will and you have young children under the age of 18, a court-appointed guardian will manage your minor child's share of your assets. While the court may appoint your spouse, this is not guaranteed. If any portion of your assets needs to be spent on your child's education, clothing, or living expenses, prior court approval will be necessary. The court also requires that guardians file annual accountings of income and expenses.

Who will oversee the administration of my estate?

In your will, you name an executor of your estate who will administer and distribute your property when you pass. An executor can be a friend, a family member, an attorney, or a bank or trust company that specializes in handling assets.

Why do I need a will?

The primary reason for creating a will is to have control over who you leave your property to and in what manner. With a will, you can be specific; for example, you can say that you want your family photos to go to your daughter Nancy, your coin collection to your grandson Sam, and your 1959 Chevy Impala to go to your son Paul.

How important is my choice of an executor?

The only way you get to choose an executor is if you make a will. Not only is it important to have trustworthy and qualified people handle your affairs during life, but it is equally valuable to have such people handling your affairs after you die.

Is all property distributed through a will?

Not necessarily. Property held jointly with another or in a trust, or life insurance with a named beneficiary will not be distributed through a will. The same can be said for individual retirement accounts and pensions. The will is only part of your plan to distribute property, thus in order to create the best estate plan, you will need to discuss your overall estate planning wishes with an attorney.

Contact the Law Offices of Steven M. Adler, PLLC.

Creating an estate plan has immeasurable benefits, not to mention it gives you peace of mind knowing that your assets and your loved ones are properly taken care of in the event of your incapacitation or death.

To learn more about wills and creating an individualized estate plan, contact a Long Island estate planning lawyer from the Law Offices of Steven M. Adler, PLLC today!