PLEASE NOTE: We are able to fully assist you during these difficult times. We are offering our clients and prospective clients the ability to meet with us via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office at 914-948-1500 so that we may assist you.

We are pleased to announce the reopening of our White Plains office location for in-office meetings. We are following the applicable New York State regulations for Phase 2 re-openings. These regulations limit in-person gatherings, so although we will hold a select number of in-person meetings, we will continue to encourage telephone and video-conference meetings whenever possible. We have implemented health and safety procedures for all staff, as well as those clients who come into the office. Please click here for in-office meeting procedures.

Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

Managing an estate when no will exists

If there is one thing that readers of this New York estate planning blog should take away from its many posts it is that everyone should have an estate plan. An estate plan does not have to be a complicated scheme of inheritance and conditions: estate plans need only be enough to fulfill the wishes of their testators and satisfy the requirements of New York law. Wealthy or of modest income, with children or single, all individuals can and should build the estate plans that they want.

That is because death is an unavoidable truth for everyone and a failure to provide an estate plan can result in a person’s estate being subject to the laws of intestate succession. Someone dies intestate when they die without a will, and their estate then becomes distributable based on a complex set of rules. Generally, an estate will pass to a person’s spouse, but special considerations may exist if the decedent had children from previous relationships.

Estates often pass up and down the family tree as potential beneficiaries are identified through the intestate succession process. After a spouse, a decedent’s kids may be next to inherit, and then the decedent’s parents, their siblings, and then their grandparents. The process goes on as the probate court looks for a suitable beneficiary.

As one can see, a person’s estate may end up passing to someone they do not want to benefit if no estate plan is in place and executed. Intestate succession laws serve a purpose but individuals can avoid this situation by drafting and executing authoritative estate plans with the help of their trusted attorneys.