You have worked hard for the life you enjoy and the assets you possess. Estate planning gives you control over what happens to that property when you die and protects you at your most legally vulnerable.
It is easy for people to put off the creation of an estate plan, especially because they may not recognize the noteworthy risks of dying without a will and other estate documents in New York. What could potentially happen if you die without an estate plan in New York?
The state could claim your personal property
Those who die without a last will, trust or other estate planning documents will be subject to New York intestate succession laws. These laws describe how the state should distribute your property when you die without leaving instructions for your assets.
Your spouse and your children will have strong inheritance rights. Other family members, ranging from your siblings to your grandparents could also inherit your property when you die. However, if you don’t have any legal or biological family, your assets could become the property of New York state.
Your legacy could disappear due to creditor claims
You don’t have any way of knowing when you will die or your financial circumstances at that time. If you have debt when you die, your creditors can potentially bring claims against your personal assets.
Without careful planning, your home and other property could wind up liquidated to repay your Medicaid benefits or your credit card balances. Debt repayment takes priority over the distribution of your property to your family members after your death.
You could have set yourself up for improper medical care or financial hardship
Estate planning isn’t just about what happens to your property when you die. It is also about what happens to you if you experience some kind of extreme medical event that leaves you incapacitated.
Without an estate plan, there may not be anyone with access to your medical records or the authority to make medical choices on your behalf. Your loved ones may not know your medical wishes either. You can create documents that protect you in a medical emergency, such as an advance directive or powers of attorney. Otherwise, the people who love you may not know what care to obtain for you or have the authority to manage your financial matters.
Creating an estate plan protects you after an emergency and also the people that you love if you die.