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.