Surviving Spouse Rights in New York

If you live in New York, have a less than happy marriage, and think you can disown your spouse when drafting your will, think again. In fact, the Empire State has specific laws in place to prevent you from disinheriting your spouse from your estate plan.

New York Probate Timeline

Probate is the process of validating a deceased person’s will. Since no two probate cases are the same, the length of time it takes for the process to conclude can vary greatly. From start to finish, probate can range from months to several years.

New York Inheritance Tax

Unless you plan for it, inheritance tax (also known as estate tax or death tax) can take a big bite out of the money and property you wanted your family to inherit. Usually, the executor of an estate is responsible for filing a New York estate tax return and paying the tax within nine months after the person dies. The executor typically works with legal and financial professionals to determine the value of the estate and to determine the federal and state taxes the estate owes.

Avoiding Probate in New York

There are many good reasons to have a will as part of your estate plan. A will helps ensure that your property is divided according to your wishes. Without a will, property is divided according to New York State law, which may not coincide with your wishes.

The Role of Life Insurance in Estate Planning

Along with other estate planning tools, having life insurance provides a way to guarantee a lump sum of money will immediately transfer to your beneficiaries tax free. While it might not mitigate their grief, life insurance can help ensure that financial worries will not add to your family’s sadness

Documents You Need for Your Estate Plan

For better or for worse, our lives can change at any moment. Because life comes with no guarantees, it’s important to have an estate plan that protects you, your family and your property. At a minimum, your estate plan should include a couple of basic documents.