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The Importance of Having a Will – New York Estate Planning Attorney Scott Russell

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The Importance of Having a Will – New York Estate Planning Attorney Scott Russell

The Importance of Having a Will – New York Estate Planning Attorney Scott Russell

estate planning attorney

You may think that only super rich people need a will, but it’s important for everyone to have one, even if they aren’t wealthy. If you have questions about writing or challenging a will in New York, contact attorney Scott Russell, New York Estate Planning Attorney, today for a free consultation.

What Does a Will Do?

Simply put, a will is a document that tells people how you would like your possessions to be distributed when you die. “Die without one, and the state decides who gets what,” warns CNNMoney.com. While that may sound harsh, it’s true. Each state has intestacy laws that dictate how your property will be divided among your blood relatives if you die without a will. Most people would prefer to choose which people or charities will get their property when they die rather than allow the law to give property to someone they dislike. For example, if you are in the middle of a divorce when you die, your spouse may still receive half of your estate under state intestacy laws. You can avoid this by writing a will.

But a will does more than determine who gets what. For example, your will can designate a guardian for your minor children if you die before they reach adulthood. Without a will, a court will decide which family members should care for the children. In some cases, a state guardian may be appointed.

When you write a will, you can also name an executor who will ensure that your wishes are carried out as stated. Even if you don’t have a large estate, writing a will can help your loved ones minimize estate taxes.

It’s important to remember that you can modify a will at any time as long as certain requirements are met. So your will is not final until you perish.

Can My Will Be Challenged?

If you create a will, you must ensure that it meets all legal requirements, or there could be grounds for someone to challenge your will once you die. Other grounds for challenging a will include suspected fraud, or forgery, your mental state when you wrote the will, and undue influence from a friend or loved one. Undue influence means someone used his or her position to manipulate the will-maker into leaving him or her a large inheritance. If a will is challenged on grounds of mental state, the challenger must show that the will-maker was not aware of what he or she was doing at the time the will was made.

What Is a Living Will?

A living will is referred to when you are terminally ill and cannot tell people what medical care you want to receive. Unlike a traditional will, a living will dictates how you want to proceed with life-sustaining medical treatment. You can also set up a healthcare proxy, which will give someone power of attorney to make medical decisions on your behalf. These are also known as advance directives.

If you have questions about writing or challenging a will, please contact New York probate attorney Scott Russell today for a free consultation. Scott is a former prosecutor who can handle any legal matter.

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