Below you will find some Frequently Asked Questions for Wills, Trusts and Estates Law, along with a brief answer to each question. For more information and a detailed explanation, please contact the Law Office of Tzvi Y. Hagler, P.C.
- What is the point in drafting a Will?
A will allows you the opportunity to divide and distribute your property and assets, upon your death, in the manner you desire and deem most appropriate. Furthermore, you can appoint a guardian for any minor children. A will leaves the control in your hands.
- What happens if I die without a Will?
Without a will you property and assets will be distributed according the laws of intestacy without provisions for your desires.
- My loved one has died, and I would like to follow their will, but the bank will not permit me to access their accounts or assets. What should I do?
bank, or any institution, will not permit you to access the deceased assets without letters testamentary (or administration without a Will) being issued to you by the Court. You must file a petition for probate with the Surrogate’s Court to have the Will admitted to probate to allow for execution of the Will.
- I was named executor in a Will. What does that mean?
The executor of a will (or administrator when no Will exists) is the person appointed in control of the collection of property and assets and charged with the distribution thereof.
- Can I leave all my property to one person in my Will?
Yes, it is your will, and this allows you to direct the distribution of your property in any legal manner you see fit.
- Does a Will have an expiration date?
No. Once you drafted a Will it is valid until you revoke it. However, it is common and recommended to have your Will reviewed and revised every few years to capture any life changes, such as new child, marriage, divorce, etc., or a law and legal change.
- How do I avoid or minimize the Tax consequences of my Will?
There are numerous tactics employed or employable to avoid or minimize the Estate tax liability of your Will. Normally, the beneficiaries of a Will are forced to pay taxes depending on the amount of assets maintained by the decedent’s estate. However, there are many different methods, including trusts, which can be established to avoid these taxes.
- Does all my property and assets distributed pursuant to my Will?
No, there are certain assets which pass outside of the will. These assets include life insurance proceeds and jointly held property.
- Will I be notified that my loved one’s Will is being submitted for probate?
Yes, when a Will is admitted to probate, any person who is “interested” in an estate, including heirs and beneficiaries, are required to be noticed, prior to probate being granted and letters testamentary being issued.
- I feel that my sibling took advantage of my parent and forced a change to the Will. What can be done?
Once you receive the notification that your parent’s Will is being submitted for probate, you have an opportunity to submit an objection for probate. This will allow you to voice your concern, and demonstrate to the Court that some sort of illegal influence or fraud is involved. The Court may require a hearing prior to adjudicating a decision.
- What is a Living Will?
A Living Will, which is commonly executed contemporaneous with the Will, is a written statement that expresses your desires with regard to health care treatment if you become incapable of expressing those desires. It may include instructions concerning the termination of life support and post-mortem decisions.
- What is a Health Care Proxy?
A Health Care Proxy is a document which allows you to designate a person, or proxy, to make health care decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself.