What Can I Include in a Will in New York?

An estate planning attorney directing a client to sign a last will and testament.

Creating a will is an important and responsible step in ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. However, it can be overwhelming to figure out what exactly to include in your will. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing what can be included in a will in New York, so that you can have a better understanding of what your options are and make informed decisions when creating your own will.

What Property, Assets, and Instructions Can I Include in a Last Will and Testament in New York?

Creating a will in New York can be a daunting task, but it's important to remember that it's ultimately about ensuring that your wishes are known and respected. By including the items discussed below, you can have peace of mind knowing that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes, your children will be cared for, your favorite charities will be supported, and your final wishes will be honored.

The following are the items you can include in a will in New York:

  • Property and Assets – One of the primary things you can include in your will is your property and assets. This includes real estate, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, personal belongings, and any other valuable possessions. You can be very specific in your will about who should inherit each individual asset or you can divide them among your beneficiaries more generally. It’s important to note that any assets you own jointly with another person cannot be included in your will, as they automatically pass to the surviving joint owner.
  • Executor – Your will allows you to choose the person who will be in charge of carrying out your wishes after your passing. This person is known as the executor or personal representative. You should choose someone you trust to handle your affairs responsibly and effectively. Your executor will be responsible for tasks such as filing paperwork with the courts, paying off your debts and taxes, distributing your assets to your beneficiaries as directed in your will, and handling any other legal matters that arise during the estate administration process.
  • Guardianship of Minor Children – If you have minor children, your will is the place to indicate who should be their guardian in the event of your passing. This is a critical decision that should not be taken lightly. You want to choose someone who has values similar to yours and who you believe will provide a safe and loving home for your children. If you don't name a guardian for your children in your will, the court will appoint one for you.
  • Charitable Donations – If you have a charity or non-profit organization that you care deeply about, you can include it in your will as a beneficiary. You can donate a specific dollar amount or percentage of your estate to the organization, or you can name it as a recipient of a particular asset, such as property or stocks. Keep in mind that charitable donations may also provide some tax benefits and can be a great way to leave a lasting legacy in the community.
  • Funeral and Burial Instructions – Lastly, your will can include instructions for your funeral and burial. These instructions can be as detailed or general as you like and can include information such as the type of service and burial you want, where you want to be buried, any preferences for cremation or embalming, and more. By including these instructions in your will, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out exactly as you would have wanted.

As always, it's best to consult with an attorney to make sure your will is legally sound and covers all your wishes.

Speak with Our Experienced Will Attorneys in Hudson Valley Today

It's important for every adult to have a living will. Don't wait until you're older to take care of it. Also, don't think that having a will is only for the rich. Everyone can benefit from it, regardless of whether they’re wealthy or not.

At Letterio & Haug, LLP, our team of experienced estate planning lawyers can assist you in creating a legally binding last will and testament.

To learn more about how Letterio & Haug, LLP can help you with your will and any of your other estate planning needs, call us at (845) 203-0997 or reach out to us online today.

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