At DiVernieri, DiVernieri and Cotter, LLP, we assist clients throughout the Staten Island Region with preparing wills. Although many are aware of the importance of having a will, people often put off creating one until it’s too late. In fact, a recent survey found that nearly 60 percent of Americans do not have a will. While confronting our own mortality is daunting, creating a will as part of a comprehensive estate plan is the prudent thing to do.
When you consult with us, we will take the time to understand your concerns and address those concerns by providing you with trustworthy advice and caring, efficient service. Contact our office today for a consultation with one of our experienced wills, trusts, and estate attorneys.
A Last Will and Testament (commonly known as a will) serves the fundamental purpose of ensuring that your estate assets are managed and distributed according to your wishes after your passing. One of the key features of a will is the ability to appoint an executor, who is responsible for carrying out your instructions. It is crucial to select a trustworthy and capable person, even if it's not a spouse or adult child.
Moreover, a well-crafted will can help achieve other objectives, including:
Failing to have a will in place can lead to undesirable consequences. If you pass away without a will (intestate), the court will appoint someone, usually a surviving spouse or family member, to serve as the estate administrator. This person will be responsible for distributing your assets according to New York's intestacy laws, which prioritize spouses, children, and parents. Unfortunately, this may result in the wrong people inheriting your assets. Additionally, if you have minor children, the court may appoint a guardian who does not share your values or parenting style, leaving your children in the care of someone you did not choose.
The absence of a will also increases the likelihood of disputes among surviving family members over asset distribution, adding to the emotional burden they already face after your passing. To protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones, it is essential to create a will.
Using estate planning documents found on the internet may not comply with state legal requirements, which can lead to an invalid will. A will must be correctly prepared and executed to be recognized by the court and ensure your wishes are carried out.
Partnering with an experienced wills attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes and minimize legal challenges from unhappy family members. Our law firm's attorneys have significant experience in drafting wills and can assist you in creating other vital estate planning documents such as durable power of attorney, advance health care directive (health care proxy), revocable living trust, special needs trust (to provide for a disabled loved one), Medicaid trust, and guardianship.
We do not just prepare documents; our estate planning practice aims to understand your needs and tailor an estate plan that meets your objectives.
It's essential to keep in mind that wills need to go through probate, a court-supervised process that involves administering and distributing the estate assets. Although state probate law aims to streamline the process, there are specific requirements that must be met before closing the estate. Additionally, probate exposes your will to public scrutiny, which some clients may prefer to avoid. Therefore, in addition to having a will, many of our clients can benefit from setting up trusts to ensure their assets are appropriately distributed.
Whether you are creating a will for the first time or need to update an existing one, it is advisable to work with the estate planning team at DiVernieri, DiVernieri and Cotter, LLP. As our client, you can be confident that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes, ensuring that your loved ones receive the inheritance you intended for them. Please reach out to our office today to schedule a consultation.