There are numerous legal tools that may be used in estate planning, but one of the most fundamental components of an individual’s documents is a will. A valid will in New York must be written, signed and witnessed by the maker of the will and two eligible witnesses in order to be valid and enforceable.
Despite the importance of estate planning and drafting a will, some estimates suggest that over half of Americans do not have a will. Not drafting a will could mean that your assets and hard-earned money are not passed on to those you love the most, so it is an effort that definitely warrants consideration if you are an adult and do not yet have one in place.
Passing on your assets
The most notable function of a will is leaving behind instructions concerning how your assets should be distributed upon your death. With a legally valid and clearly-written will in place, your assets should be inherited by your chosen beneficiaries without too much trouble.
You’re not obliged to pass all of your assets on to your relatives if this is not what you want. Anyone can be a beneficiary and this includes charitable organizations. If you want philanthropy to be a part of your legacy, a will can help you to make this happen.
Other key functions
While money and assets are at the center of will drafting, there is also more to it. For example, if you have minor children, then you may be concerned about who will look after them should something happen to you. A will allows you to nominate guardians who will look after your children upon your death. Again, you can choose anyone for this responsible, the main thing is that they are suitable, able and willing to take on the role.
Having all of the relevant information at hand will help you address your estate plan in a way that reflects your true wishes. Consider seeking legal guidance to find out more.