Misconceptions About Wills

long island estate planning attorneysMisconception 1: “I am not rich enough to have a will.”

Response: Oh really! Do you have a car, a home, furniture, bank accounts, pension, 401(k), or life insurance? If you do, you are not too poor to have a will. You may end up being worth more at the time of your death than you realize. In addition to distributing your assets, a will allows you to name an individual to raise your children as guardian in the event you and the other parent should die. What a will does is it allows you to control your assets, your personal papers, sentimental items, and look out for your children’s best interests in the event neither parent is available to raise your children. By failing to write a will, the State of New York determines who raises your children and who receives your assets! You are not that poor!

Misconception 2: “I don’t need a will. My spouse receives all of my assets when I die.”

Response: Only those assets in joint names will go to your spouse. Any asset not in joint names, will not necessarily go to your spouse. If you die without a will in the State of New York, it is stated you died intestate. Under the law in the State of New York, your spouse will receive the first $50,000 and one half of the balance of your estate. Your children will inherit the rest of your estate.
A second issue to consider is, does your spouse have the financial ability to handle your assets in the event of your death. If you write a will, you can name someone to help your spouse deal with these issues.

Misconception 3: “I’ll write my own will, I don’t need a lawyer!”

Response: There are do it yourself will kits on the internet. Unfortunately, the State of New York has very specific requirements with regard to what is in a will, how it is phrased and how it is executed. If any aspect of this is done incorrectly, the will is invalid. A bad will can be worse than no will at all. Improperly drafted wills and improperly executed wills cause all types of litigation. Many of the will kits available on the internet and in libraries are general forms, not specifically designed to deal with the requirements of a will in the State of New York. Wills are not expensive to be drawn up by lawyers. It is a relatively minor expense. For peace of mind, hire a lawyer to write your will.

Misconception 4: “I’ll write a will later, when I am ready to die.”

Response: You never know when you are going to die. You can write a will and change it numerous times. A will is a document that can be amended, changed, withdrawn, cancelled, and rewritten as many times as you want. Write a will when you can. You can’t do it after you die!wills and trusts lawyer on Long Island