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Preserve Your Legacy

Estate Planning | Elder Law | Special Needs Planning



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

“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.

Asset Distribution

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.