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
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.