Why do I need a will?

The reasons you need a will generally fall into 3 categories:

1. To Ensure that Your Property is Distributed According to Your Wishes
2. To Appoint a Guardian for Your Minor Children
3. To Avoid Expenses and Confusion

  Learn about Why you Need a Will

Does a will transfer all of my property?

No. Not all property will pass under your will- a complete disposition of your property will require more than a will. Examples of property that are not distributed by a will are:

  • Property held in joint tenancy- which will automatically be transferred to the other joint tenants.

  • Proceeds of a life insurance policy that has a named beneficiary.

  • Property held in trust- which will be distributed according to the trust documents.

  • Proceeds of a retirement plan with a named beneficiary.

  • Bank accounts held in trust or with Transfer on Death (TOD) designation.

  • Property subject to a Spousal Election- it is not possible to disinherit a spouse in New York.

What is a Health Care Proxy?

A Health Care Proxy is a document that appoints a person, called a proxy or agent,  to make health care decisions for an individual while they are unable to so themselves. The Health Care Proxy is an important document for all people.

Health Care Proxy Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will, or advance directive" or "medical directive", sets forth your wishes regarding medical treatment or withholding of medical treatment. The Living Will acts a guide medical professionals and your appointed healthcare agent when you are unable to act for yourself.

Learn more about New York Living Wills

What is a durable power of attorney?

By signing a power of attorney you are able to chose who will make decisions about your property rather than a guardian appointed by the court. A power of attorney allows you, as the "principal", to appoint another person, called an "agent", to act on your behalf in a number of specific areas, such as banking, business matter, and real estate matters. A durable power means that your agent's authority remains even after you are incapacitated.  Powers of attorney end at the death of the agent or principal. 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Durable Power of Attorney