|WHY YOU NEED A WILL|
Why You Need a Will
Often people think they don’t need a will or any estate planning. You may think that because you have joint accounts and your estate is small, everything will automatically go to your spouse or children. When you consider the value of homes in the New York area, your estate may be larger than you think and it may not be distributed as you want or expect. Having no estate plan is the worst plan.
Some reasons for having a will:
Think about it:
You may want your estate to be distributed to all your children equally. But you may not realize that the account you made joint with one child for your own convenience will be distributed solely to that child to the exclusion of any other children. Is that what you want or intended?
Do you want your children to receive your entire estate outright on your death? If you do not provide otherwise, your children will receive their share of your estate at age 18. Are they mature enough to handle that sudden amount of wealth? You can provide for them to inherit at any age you chose. You can direct that money be available to them at various times and for their health and education.
Do you have a child who needs guidance in the area of money management?
Do you want to direct that certain assets be sold on your death or given directly to certain individuals?
Do you want to provide for a grandchild’s education?
Do you have a child, grandchild or other beneficiary who is disabled and receiving or will receive government benefits? It is possible for you to leave a bequest to that individual and not have them lose those needed benefits.
Are you in a second marriage? Many people who are married for a second time agree that their children from a prior marriage will be the sole heirs of each of their estates. This cannot be done without a will and an agreement with your current spouse. Many people want the spouse of a second marriage to remain in the home for the rest of his or her life even if the house is solely in the decedent’s name. This must be provided for in a will.
Have you considered even a small bequest to a favorite charity?
No one wants to pay estate taxes if they don’t have to. The tax law provides for certain exemptions that can easily be lost with no estate plan or a poor estate plan.
You may need a will more than you think.
Your attorney can suggest many options you have not considered. You may not think you have an estate plan because you have no will. In that case, what you do have is plan determined by the title to your assets, your family make-up and state a federal law. Be sure it is the plan you want.
Joan S. Arbiter, Attorney at Law, P.C.
Melville, New York attorney, Joan S. Arbiter, helps families and individuals throughout Nassau County, Suffolk County, and the New York Metro Area to resolve legal issues in the areas of elder law, Medicaid planning, estate planning, probate, and real estate. Long Island communities she serves include Amityville, Commack, Dix Hills, Farmingdale, Hauppauge, Hempstead, Huntington, Babylon, Levittown, Massapequa, Melville, Mineola, Plainview, and Woodbury.