How to Transfer Your Assets at Death

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Are you preparing your estate and have questions about what will happen when you pass? Buffalo Estate Planning Attorney Thomas F. Hewner explains how to transfer your assets at death in the following educational legal video. If you have questions about estate planning, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. We welcome the opportunity to assist you and your family with any of your estate planning needs. 

  • When a person dies, his assets are transferred in one of two ways. If the decedent had assets in his name, they will be distributed pursuant to either a will or through administration or intestacy. A will states how assets held in your name alone should be distributed. For those without a will, established rules determine how assets are distributed based on the decedent’s family at the time of death.
  • If you don’t have a will, an unusual family structure or members who are spread out could result in assets being distributed to people you’ve never met.
  • If you’ve added people’s names to your accounts, and designated beneficiaries, assets go where you say they should go
  • When the policyholder passes away, the payout goes to that beneficiary, so it is important to keep that information current.
  • Certain assets are considered exempt and go directly to a surviving spouse regardless of a will, including the spouse’s right to retain a vehicle.
  • It’s very common that there’s no estate when the first spouse dies, so nothing more needs to be done except update certain documents such as the will, healthcare proxy, and power of attorney.

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