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Basic Estate Planning Documents

Basic Estate Planning Documents

Estate planning aims to achieve a number of objectives including, but not limited to, designation of guardians, incapacity planning, asset protection, asset distribution and wealth maximization. It may involve various legal and financial instruments as well as complex tax planning techniques and strategies. However, it all starts with the following basic estate planning documents: 1. Last Will and Testament Last will and testament, or simply the will, is a document which leaves the estate of the testator to named individuals and organizations. “Testator” is a person who signs the will and...

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Is a Joint Will a Good Idea?

Is a Joint Will a Good Idea?

A joint will is a will that two or more people make together, rather than each making their own will individually. In practice, a joint will is typically created and signed by a married couple in order to dispose of property that they own together. This may seem like a good idea: why write two wills when you can simply write one together? However, joint wills can raise potential complications. Couples often create joint wills to prevent each other from changing their mind after the first spouse dies. It is important to note that a joint will shall only be binding on the parties if the...

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Requirements for Executing a Will in New York

Requirements for Executing a Will in New York

Executing a will is the act of signing a will and making it legally binding. New York law has strict requirements for executing a will. First, a person executing a will must be at least 18 years old. The legal term for the maker of the will is Testator, and in New York a will is formally called a “Last Will and Testament.” In order to properly sign the will, the Testator must sign “at the end thereof.” Any words that appear on the will following the signature are not given effect. In some instances, an entire will may be declared invalid if there is text following the signature that is so...

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What if Someone Dies without a Will?

What if Someone Dies without a Will?

A will leaves the estate to named persons and organizations. Through a will, the testator can make specific gifts, distribute percentages of the estate, and create trusts for management and future distribution of all or some of the assets of the estate. But what if a New Yorker dies without a will or a will is held to be invalid? Distribution of Assets If an individual dies without a will he or she is said to have “died intestate”. New York laws contain rules for distribution of property, both real and personal, in intestacy. In essence, New York State creates a statutory will when a validly...

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What to Discuss with a New York Estate Planning Attorney

What to Discuss with a New York Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning can be overwhelming for many people, in part, because good estate planning involves planning not just for foreseeable circumstances, but for unforeseeable ones as well. Below are several different topics to consider discussing with your New York estate planning attorney. Last Will and Testament Results from a recent AARP survey indicate that 41% of baby boomers and 71% of people under the age of 34 do not have a will. Likewise, many people who do have a will do not keep it up-to-date. It is important to revisit a will after an important life event, such as a birth of a child...

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