Death is an inevitable part of life, and while it may be a difficult topic to think about, it’s important to plan ahead. If you die without a will in New York State, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. This means that the court will determine how your assets are distributed based on a set of rules that are designed to determine who your heirs are. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what happens if you die without a will in New York State.
Intestacy Laws in New York State
When someone dies without a will in New York State, their assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. These laws are set out in the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law (EPTL). The EPTL sets out a strict set of rules that determine who your heirs are and how your assets will be distributed.
Under the laws of intestacy, your assets will be distributed to your closest relatives. If you have a spouse, they will inherit all of your assets if you have no children. If you have children, your spouse will inherit the first $50,000 of your estate, plus half of the remaining balance. Your children will inherit the other half of the remaining balance
If you have no spouse or children, your assets will be distributed to your closest living relatives. This could be your parents, siblings, or other relatives. If you have no living relatives, your assets will be distributed to the State of New York.
Issues with Intestacy
While the laws of intestacy provide a clear set of rules for distributing your assets, there are several issues that can arise if you die without a will.
Firstly, the laws of intestacy may not reflect your wishes. For example, if you have a close friend or a charity that you would like to leave a portion of your estate to, this will not be possible if you die without a will.
Secondly, the laws of intestacy can be complicated, especially if you have a large estate or a complex family situation. This can lead to disputes and disagreements between family members, which can be difficult to resolve.
Finally, dying without a will can also be more expensive and time-consuming. The court will need to appoint an administrator to manage your estate, which can be a lengthy process. Additionally, the court may need to sell your assets in order to pay off any debts or taxes that you owe.
Creating a Will
To avoid these issues, it’s important to create a will. A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your assets should be distributed after your death. It allows you to leave specific assets to specific people, including friends, charities, or other organizations.
Creating a will is relatively straightforward, and you can work with an attorney to ensure that your wishes are properly documented. In addition to outlining how your assets should be distributed, your will can also appoint an executor to manage your estate and make important decisions on your behalf.
It’s important to keep it up-to-date. Life circumstances can change, and your will may need to be revised to reflect these changes. For example, if you get married, divorced, have children, or acquire new assets, you may need to update your will to ensure that your wishes are properly reflected.
It’s also important to keep your will in a safe place and let your loved ones know where it is located. This can help to avoid disputes and ensure that your wishes are carried out in a timely manner.
Dying without a will in New York State can lead to a variety of issues, including disputes, lengthy court proceedings, and assets being distributed in a way that doesn’t reflect your wishes. To avoid these issues, it’s important to create a will that outlines how your assets should be distributed and appoints an executor to manage your estate. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your loved ones are taken care of and that your wishes are carried out after your passing.
As a law firm, we at Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, P.C. can help you and your family navigate the legal process if you die without a will in New York State. Our experienced attorneys can assist you in creating a will that reflects your wishes for how your assets should be distributed after your death. We can also help you revise an existing will or create other estate planning documents, such as trusts or powers of attorney, that can help you manage your assets while you are alive.
If you die without a will, we can help your family navigate the probate process. We can work with the court-appointed administrator to ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy, and we can help resolve any disputes that may arise.
We also have extensive experience in other areas of law, such as real estate, business law, and personal injury. This means that we can provide comprehensive legal services to meet all of your needs.
If you are concerned about what happens if you die without a will in New York State, we can help. We can assist you in creating a will or other estate planning documents, or help your family navigate the probate process if you die without a will. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.