New York Wills FAQ
There's a lot to know about Wills. You need to understand the difference between a Will and Living Will, how Wills should be executed and how they can be modified or challenged. You also need to understand the probate process and how that can affect the outcome of your estate planning goals.
Here, we provide general responses to some of the most common questions we receive from clients. To get more specific information and to either create or update a Will, contact our office. You can do so by filling out our online form or calling Testa Law Firm at 315-255-3368.
Who Should Have a Will in Cayuga?
Many people assume that only the wealthy need to have a Will. However, the truth is that many people, with and without great wealth, need to have a Will in case the unexpected occurs.
People who should have a Will include but are not limited to:
- Those who are married
- Those who have children
- Those who own assets
- Those who have a special needs family member
Only people who do not have assets, a spouse, and/or children may not need a Will.
When Should I Make a Will in New York?
A Will needs to be created and often updated when certain events occur:
- When you turn 18
- When you marry, divorce, or remarry
- When you have children
- When you start a business
- When you buy a home
Whenever you have a major life change, it is time to make or update your existing Will.
What Goes into a Will?
A Will states who should inherit your assets when you die. If you have children, you can designate who you want to have custody of your children if you pass away. A Will also allows you to appoint an executor for your estate. This person will be in charge of administering your estate according to the terms of your Will when you die.
What Should I Avoid in a Will?
There are certain things that are best dealt with through other means rather than a Will. Things that are not appropriate and should be avoided in a Will include:
- Retirement plan proceeds
- Life Insurance
- Living trust property
An estate planning attorney can advise you on the best way to handle these matters. Many of them can complement your Will and work well in an estate plan.
Can My Parents Leave Me Out of Their Will?
In New York State your parents can disinherit you from their will. There should be specific disinheritance language, otherwise it can be challenged during probate.
Can Someone Challenge My Will in New York after I Die?
There is always a possibility someone will challenge your Will after you pass away. Whether or not that challenge is successful is a different question. Some of the most common reasons Wills are challenged include:
- That the testator was under undue influence or lacked the capacity to make a Will
- That the Will is a fraud/forged
- That the Will lacks the formalities required to be valid, such as being signed and correctly witnessed
Having a lawyer help with the process of creating your Will can help prevent successful challenges.
Can I Make a Will without a Lawyer in New York?
It is possible to create a Will without the assistance of a lawyer. However, New York State is very specific regarding what is required for a Will to be considered valid. If you create the Will on your own, and it does not meet the legal requirements for validity, it may not be enforceable.
Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer in New York Today
Do not procrastinate another day before starting an estate plan because your loved ones are too important. Wills are often an integral part of any estate plan, and keep in mind: it really does not matter how much your estate is worth. What matters is protecting your interests and securing your heirs' futures.
Contact Testa Law Firm today online or at 315-255-3368 to schedule a free consultation. Our estate planning attorney in New York will guide you through the process.