It would be in your best interest to have a will (and a complete estate plan.) If you die in the state of New York and you don’t have a will, the state will create one for you. In our experience, the state’s will isn’t one you’d create for yourself.
“Dying intestate” means that you die without a will and that the state of New York decides who administers your estate, raises your minor children, and gets your assets.
For example, if you die without a will:
- But with a spouse and children, your spouse receives $50,000 plus one-half of your estate. Your children receive the other half of your estate.
- Would you want your 20 year old to inherit a large sum of money?
- Would you want your spouse to be left without enough to support herself?
- Would you want your child who was addicted to drugs, going bankrupt, on public assistance, or going through a divorce to inherit one half of your estate?
Your Minor Children
If you don’t appoint a guardian for your minor children in your will, the courts of the state of New York will appoint guardians for you.
- These may not be the guardians you think would be best for your children.
- Family members may go to battle to fight over your children.
- No one may step up to care for your children and they may be separated in foster care.
- You can’t assume that you spouse will care for your children, as he or she may be in a common accident with you.
Your Estate Administration
If you haven’t named an executor in your will, the court will appoint an executor called an “administrator” to settle your estate.
- The person named by the court may not be the same person you would choose
- Your administrator gets paid by your estate
- Your administrator is privy to all of your private information and is in charge of your assets
If you have questions about dying without a will in New York, consult with a qualified New York estate planning attorney.