and Your Family
Staten Island Will Drafting
A will is a legal document in which you as the testator memorialize your wishes as to how your property should be transferred once you pass away. You can also state who will be responsible for managing your estate, and who will serve as guardian for our minor children. While there are other ways to transfer wealth, a will is not only way to maintain control over what happens to property that is in your probate estate. To learn more about how a properly drafted will an help you meet your estate planning goals, it is important that you contact an experienced Staten Island will drafting attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.Terminology related to will drafting
To understand how a will works and the language that is used in your will, here are definitions of some of the more common terminology.
- Beneficiary. A beneficiary is a person to whom the testator leaves property.
- Bequest. A gift of personal property in a will.
- Devise. A gift of real property in a will.
- Estate. All of your property, including both real and personal.
- Executor. The person you name in your will to manage your estate and ensure your wishes are carried out after you pass away. Before the executor an legally act on behalf of your estate, he or she must be formally appointed by the court and must receive Letters Testamentary.
- Heir. Any person who by statute may be entitled to a portion of your estate in the absence of a will. An heir is also referred to as “next of kin.”
- Intestacy: Death without a valid will.
- Decide which property you want to include in your will. Not all of your property is part of your probate estate and can be disposed of by your will. Only property that you own individually or as a tenant in common is part of your probate estate. If you are unsure of what property is part of your probate estate, contact an experienced Staten Island will drafting attorney.
- Decide who you would like to receive your property. Make a list of who you would like to leave property, and what you would like to leave each person. Keep in mind that you can leave property to not only relatives, but also to non-relatives and to institutions.
- Decide who you would like to name as the executor of your estate. Your executor will be responsible for the day-to-day activities of settling your estate and eventually distributing your assets.
- Choose a guardian for your minor children and their property. If leave minor children when you pass away, you should state in your will who you want to care for them, and who you want to handle their property.
- Draft your will. Your will must be in writing. In order for your will to be clear and to minimize the potential for estate litigation, your will should be drafted by an experienced will drafting attorney in Staten Island.
- Execute your will. Your will must be executed in a manner required by New York law. You as the testator must sign the will at the end. You can also direct another person to sign it for you, but that person must do so in your presence. At least two people must witness you signing the will, or you must acknowledge to the witnesses that the signature is yours. The witnesses must also sign the will. After you execute it, store it in an accessible place and give a copy to your executor.
- Revisit it. You should review your will and make changes if necessary. Appropriate times to review your will include when there are major changes to your family such as after births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. If there are major changes to your estate, you may need to make changes to your will. Changes to a will can be made by either executor a new will, or by amending your will with a codicil.
The consequences of having no will or a poorly drafted will may be delays in estate administration, disputes among beneficiaries and heirs, and your property going to people other than those you wanted to have it. The will drafting attorneys serving Staten Island at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over 2 decades of experience representing clients in matters related to drafting wills, trusts, and other estate documents, as well as matters related to probate administration and probate litigation. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Bronx, Long Island, and Westchester County.