HoganWillig

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Everybody has a Will. But, perhaps you don’t know what yours says?

Author: Linda Grear


May 1st, 2013

“Everybody has a Will. But, perhaps you don’t know what yours says?”

In New York State, everybody has a plan to distribute assets after death. Without a written Will Last Will and Testament, your assets will pass-on by what is commonly referred to as “intestate distribution” or “intestacy.”

There are four ways to pass on property when you die:

  1. by operation of law – joint tenancy;
  2. by contract – beneficiary designation;
  3. by Last Will and Testament – written instructions; or
  4. by intestacy – statute determines how assets are distributed following death.

Intestate distribution is made to distributees, i.e. the nearest level of blood (including half-blood) relatives. Unless you change that distribution by leaving a valid Last Will and Testament document, your estate will pass as follows:

  1. Survived by spouse and issue (“issue” means children or next lineal descendents)
    • Spouse gets first $50,000 and ½ of the residue of the estate
    • Issue equally share the rest;
  2. Survived by spouse and no issue, then the spouse inherits all;
  3. Survived by issue but no spouse, the issue equally share the estate;
  4. No spouse or issue, then to your parents, then to siblings, then to nieces/nephews, etc… , and so on, all the way to first cousins once removed;
  5. If there are no family members beyond that, your estate will pass to the State of New York.

There are many other rules and nuances to intestate distribution that are beyond the scope of this short article, but, remember, if you do not leave a Last Will and Testament for yourself, total strangers could inherit your life’s savings.

With a Will, YOU decide who receives your property and in what proportions. Your may create a trust for children or family members with special needs. You may nominate guardians for your minor children. If you don’t make this decision for yourself, New York State law will make those decisions for you.

Wills are not costly or complicated if you have relatively simple needs and the cost is an investment that is well-worth the effort to ensure your wishes are honored. If you have any questions about this article, or wish to speak to an attorney, please contact HoganWillig at 716-636-7600. HoganWillig is located at 2410 North Forest Road in Amherst, New York 14068, with additional offices in Buffalo, Lancaster and Lockport.

What If You Die Without a Will?



April 3rd, 2012

Every person who lives in New York State dies in one of two ways: with a Will (testate) or without a Will (intestate).

If a person dies with a Will, that decedent leaves a document directing the disposition of what they own and naming a person to administer their estate (the Executor).  A Will can name a guardian for a child of the person signing the Will (the Testator), in case the child’s parents are deceased. It can provide for special administration of property for the benefit of a child or a disabled person.

Everybody has a Will. What, you don’t know what yours says?

Author: Hogan Willig


February 15th, 2012

In New York State, everybody has a plan to pass assets on their death. Without a written Will your assets will pass on by what is commonly referred to as “Intestate Distribution” or “Intestacy.” More formally by Article 4 of the New York Estates Powers and Trusts Law (the “EPTL”) – Descent and Distribution of an Intestate Estate.

There are four ways to pass on property when you die: 1) By operation of Law –like joint tenants; 2) By contract – like a beneficiary designation; 3) By a Last Will and Testament – everything left after 1 and 2; or 4) Intestacy – which controls the same items as your Will. (All other states also have laws of intestacy with the same basic rules but may differ in who may inherit. Our focus is New York.)

Intestate distribution will be made to distributees, the nearest level of blood (including half blood) relative. So, unless you change it by a Will, your estate will pass as follows:

Spring Cleaning? Time to Review Important Estate Planning Documents

Author: Hogan Willig


March 9th, 2011

Issues to Consider When Evaluating the Need for a New or Revised Will / Estate Planning Documents

As spring rolls around and we get ready for warmer weather, our thoughts turn to spring cleaning. Take this time to clean up your current estate planning documents and determine if they need to be revised. It is suggested that your estate planning documents be reviewed every five years to make sure they still comply with your wishes. If any of the categories listed below apply to you, it may be a good idea to embrace the season and make the necessary changes to your Last Will and Testament, Living Will/Health Care Proxy or Power of Attorney documents.

HoganWillig

We Practice Law for Your Peace of Mind