What is a will?
A will is an important estate planning document. More officially, it is referred to as a “Last Will and Testament“. A last will and testament is a legal document written by a testator, which contains the testator’s wishes and desires regarding how he wants his estate dealt with after he passes away. In order to ensure your surviving family, relative, special friend or loved one, or even a pet is well taken care of after your death, you have to specify clearly in your will what portion of your asset you want distributed to that person. Also, you would have to appoint an executor who will take responsibility of your will when you die.
In Brooklyn, you can use a will to:
- Pass your property over to your loved ones at your death;
- Name a guardian for your minor children at your death;
- Appoint a trusted party who would look after whatever property you leave to your minors until they come of legal age to handle such property themselves;
- Name an executor who would ensure the terms of your will are duly carried out to the letter.
The difference between a last will and a living will is that while a living will takes effect during the lifetime of the testator in cases of incapacitation, a last will takes effect after the death of the testator.
Requirements for writing a will in Brooklyn
According to the Brooklyn state laws effective in every borough within the state, a will must be written by a person of at least 18 years for the will to have a chance to pass as valid in a Probate Court. When signing or acknowledging your will, you must do so in the presence of at least two witnesses, and you must declare to these witnesses that the document you’re signing or acknowledging is indeed your last will. Both witnesses would have to sign in front of you to prove their presence, after which you pen your signature at the bottom.
While you can have your witnesses sign the same time as you, NY state law gives you an ultimatum of 30 days to have your witnesses observe you acknowledging or signing the will.
Also, beneficiaries would have to be named in your will, persons in whose possessions your estate will fall to after your death. A beneficiary could be a person or an organization.
Probating a will in Brooklyn
Every will in Brooklyn is subject to probate in a probate court in the county where the deceased owned assets or lived at the time of death, so long the estate left is worth over $30,000. When the testator dies, it falls upon the executor to file a petition along with the will and death certificate of the deceased, to the Surrogate’s Court to begin probate. Probating a Brooklyn will is done for the purpose of judging if actually the will was written in accordance with the state laws upheld in Brooklyn. If the will passes as valid, then the executor can commence his fiduciary duties and carry out the terms of the will.
In the event the will do not pass as valid, then the situation is tantamount to not having a will at all.
Dying without a will in Brooklyn
When one dies without a will or the will is declared invalid, the estate left by the deceased becomes “intestate”, that is, will be administered in accordance with the intestacy laws effective in Brooklyn. Here, the court would have to appoint an executor/administrator who will carry out the distribution of property as well as other fiduciary duties.
In the absence of a valid last will in Brooklyn, the intestacy laws states that all your estate would go to your spouse if you had no children. If you had only children, your estate would go to the children. If you’re survived by a spouse as well as children, then your spouse receives the first $50,000 and half of your property, while the rest falls to your children. If you’re survived by neither spouse nor children, then your estate goes to your surviving next-of-kin as judged by the laws of Brooklyn.
Why you need a Will Attorney Brooklyn
You have seen the laws backing writing of wills in Brooklyn. If any of these laws is flouted, then your wishes in the will are as good as naught. Assuming you have a loving friend who you want financially cared for after you die and you state this in your will. If the will doesn’t pass probate, then that loving friend would get nothing from your estate, as intestacy laws in Brooklyn only acknowledge your closest relatives as heirs to your estate.
Hence, you do not want to make any mistakes. A Will Attorney Brooklyn would, when consulted, offer relevant advise in drafting a will that best satisfies your wishes. Protect the financial future of your loved ones today. Contact a Will Attorney Brooklyn.