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What happens if I die without a Will?

Many people believe that you only need a Will if you own a business, have significant assets, are in a relationship or have children.  This is a fallacy!  Without a Will, NY's inheritance laws decide who gets your property and chances are, your estate won't be distributed the way you want!  Fortunately, you can protect your property through a Will.

Now that you're enlightened, what exactly is a Will?

Wills are a way of providing for your family, friends and favorite charities after your death.  Your Will tells your loved ones and the Court how to divide your property after your death.  If you want to be sure that your Will is honored, it's best to have it drafted by an attorney, so all the requirements of the law are followed.  (RUTH M. GURSKY, ESQ., at your service!)

Planning for incapacity:

There are also documents you can prepare now, that can be used if you become disabled or unable to make business or medical decisions on your own behalf: 

            Durable Power of Attorney:
            Permits a named person to transact business on your behalf.  In NYS, once a power of
            attorney form is properly signed before a notary public, it remains in effect even after you
            become disabled, until you revoke it or die. 

           
Living Will and Health Care Proxy:
           
These are prepared now and come into effect if you can no longer speak for yourself and
            tell your doctors what kind of medical treatment you want or don't want:

                       
Medical Directive (a/k/a Living Will): 
                        Provides written instructions about your future medical care, including which forms
                        of treatment you want and don't want, such as: respirators, intravenous feedings,
                        invasive diagnostic tests, transfusions, etc.

                       
Health Care Proxy:
                        Permits a named person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can no
                        longer speak for yourself, including decisions on life support, termination of medical
                        treatment and who can visit you in the hospital. 

Conclusion:

While the prospect of making a Will can bring up fears and resistance, I prefer to think of this as an "empowering act" where YOU decide how YOUR property will be distributed after your death!