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Wills can prevent courts from arbitrarily distributing assets

People in New York who don't have a will could be putting the future of their assets at risk. In cases in which the deceased does not have a will, a court will apply state laws to distributing an estate's assets. This could mean that half of the estate goes to a spouse and children get the rest. In some situations, this could even force the sale of a home to meet the requirements imposed by a court.

Additionally, surviving family members will need to keep up with the bills for an estate while a probate court determines how to treat the assets. Court and lawyer fees will also fall to the survivors during the lengthy probate process.

To avoid undesirable outcomes and delays, a person can create a last will and testament. This document will state exactly who gets what. Heirs might be close family members, friends or charities. With a will, the estate holder gains control and prevents the court from making the decisions. Considerations for minor children can also be addressed. A trustworthy guardian can be named as well as an executor of the will. The will holder can even make arrangements for the care of pets.

During the process of writing a will, a person can consult an attorney. Important estate planning issues like tax implications, power of attorney and advanced medical directives can be explained by the lawyer. Depending on the goals of the person, an attorney could introduce the topic of trusts. These legal tools might be used to hold assets until a beneficiary reaches a certain age or transfer properties before or after death. A person who owns a business could learn about strategies for passing on a business to new leadership while limiting tax consequences for heirs. Once decisions have been made, an attorney could draft the final documents.

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