Many individuals in New York feel that a will is not necessary in their individual situations since they do not have estates. However, anyone who owns something that he or she values and would like to pass on to someone else when he or she dies is technically an estate owner. In addition, wills are not for the people who create them. Rather, they are really for those whom they leave behind, as the left-behind individuals are the ones who will have to settle the will creators' estates.
Even if someone leaves behind nothing but a car, someone else will have to change the car title. Likewise, if an asset owner has nothing more than a tiny checking account, somebody else will have to distribute this checking account. In addition, if there is no will in place, somebody will need to prove his or her relationship to the deceased party in probate court and be named an executor by the judge.
One of the biggest mistakes besides having no will is having a will that is outdated. Updating wills over time is paramount because life changes can impact what asset owners think should happen to their assets when they pass away. For instance, the birth of multiple children over the years may necessitate changes in a will to ensure that all of them are mentioned in it.
Wills are paramount because they essentially dictate what happens to property that other means do not cover, such as deeds that are properly constructed, trusts and beneficiary designations. Even though wills do not enable surviving loved ones to skip over the probate process, they do serve as probate instructions. An attorney in New York can help to create a detailed will that accurately reflects one's wishes long term.
Source: cnbc.com, "Think you're not rich enough to need a will? Think again", Deborah Nason, Oct. 24, 2017