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WINTER 2005 • Vol. XXXXI
- We are Tax, Trust, & Estate Lawyers
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Calendar Calls

Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen if I die without a will?

You will die intestate, i.e., without a will, and your assets will pass to your heirs by operation of law pursuant to the Estates Powers and Trust Law of the State of New York. Generally speaking, if you are survived by a spouse and children, they will share the estate in accordance with the statute. If you are unmarried, without children, and survived by your parents, they will inherit your assets in accordance with the statute. If you are unmarried, without children and survived only by siblings, they will inherit your assets in accordance with the statute.

Should I list all of my assets in my will?
No. Your assets should not be specifically listed in your will. Assets grow and change over time, and the assets you have at the time you make your will may no longer exist at the time of your death. You should keep with your copy of the will a current inventory of your assets, including a list of your bank accounts and insurance policies so that your executor will not have to search for the same and can be assured that all of your assets are found and distributed in accordance with your wishes. Remember, once executed your will may or may not need to be amended in the future, but it should be reviewed with your counsel as your assets, needs and wishes change.

I want to donate my organs upon my death, should I provide for this in my will?
No. Anatomical Gifts should not be made in your will because by the time your will is read, the time for donation will have passed. The best place to make these wishes known is on the reverse of your driver's license. You should also make your immediate family members aware of your wishes now.

Should I give my executor a copy of my will?
This is a personal decision. Your executor should know where to find your will upon your death. If you do choose to give a copy to your executor, NEVER remove the staples from the original will in order to copy it. When the original is offered for probate it will be examined to make certain that it has not been tampered with and if the staples have been removed and reinserted there is a presumption that it has been tampered with and it may be difficult, if not impossible, to have the will probated.

Where should I place my original will for safekeeping?
We have a fireproof facility in our office, which we make available to our clients free of charge. The original remains here and a copy is given to you at the time of execution. If you choose to retain the original it should be kept in a fireproof box at home and not in a safety deposit box unless someone else has ready access to the box upon your death.

333 Earle Ovington Blvd.
Suite 1010
Uniondale, NY 11553
t: 516.248.1700
f: 516.248.1729
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Phone: 516-248-1700 • Fax: 516-248-1729

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