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August is National Make-A-Will Month

August 15, 2023
David Parker, Esq.
Make a will month
David Parker, White Plains and New City NY Estate Planning Attorney
David Parker, Esq.
David Parker is an attorney who specializes in Estate Planning and Elder Law and has been practicing law for 30 years. Be it Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies, or Medicaid Planning, David provides comprehensive and caring counsel for seniors and their families. A large portion of David’s practice is asset protection strategies so that families do not lose their hard earned savings to nursing home care costs. He also handles probate administration for the settlement of estates.
A well-crafted estate plan can achieve security, peace of mind for loved ones, and impact for your favorite charities.

National Make-A-Will month-long event is dedicated to the importance of creating a plan for the future, not just for yourself and loved ones, but also ensuring the continued work of your favorite charities like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

As we commemorate this month-long event for the first time, I wanted to share what a well-crafted estate plan can achieve.

Security: Creating your will allows you to communicate important financial and healthcare decisions so that you and your loved ones are prepared for whatever the future may hold.

Yahoo News’ recent article entitled “How To Write A Will: The Importance Of A Will And Living Will” says that no matter your age, it’s important to have a will to be in control of what happens with your own assets. A will is a legal document that establishes a person's wishes regarding the distribution of their assets — money, real estate, etc. — and the care of any minor children.

Without a will, New York state law may control who gets your “probate” assets and when; you have no say as to who receives your assets or properties. Having a will can save an enormous amount of time and money in estate administration and the process of having a guardian appointed for your minor children, if needed.

A will lets you to decide in advance who you want to receive your assets upon your death, and who you want to be in charge of handling the administration of your estate.

When creating a will, think about the “what,” the “who” and the “how.” To do so, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What assets do you have?
  • To whom do you want to leave them?
  • Who do you want to be in charge of making sure that happens?
  • Who do you want to be responsible for your minor children?
  • How do you want the assets transferred?

Writing your responses to these questions ahead of meeting with a New City estate planning attorney will ensure an efficient process for creating your will.

Peace of Mind: A will allows you to provide for the people you love, so they will always be supported.
Not having a will could make it difficult for your family. If you have minor children, a will allows you to nominate a guardian to care for them rather than having the court decide. If there’s no will or your wishes aren’t clear, disagreements among family members can occur. A contested will can be damaging to relationships within your family and can be costly.

Also, if the New York Probate court has to make all the decisions about how your estate will be divided, unnecessary delays occur. Your loved ones may not have access to financial accounts or may even need to relocate to a new home depending on how the ownership of property and accounts is designated. Read more about the probate process in our article, The Top 10 Things to know about the Probate Process in New York.

If you have a will, you can make certain that someone will care for your pets if you die. The law considers pets as properties, so you are prohibited from leaving assets to your pets in your will. However, you can name beneficiaries for your pets, leaving them to a trusted person, and you can name people to serve as guardians of your pets and leave them funds to meet the pet's needs.

Impact: By including an optional planned gift in your will, you can continue to advance the work of charities like NAMI for years to come. Planned giving through your will enables you to give a large gift to a charity while still caring for your loved ones. An estate gift is likely the largest charitable gift most people give that helps promote your values.

For people who volunteer and are active in their communities, making charitable giving part of your estate plan is an extension of how you lead your life and the example you set for your family. If a demanding career meant you never had time to devote to your community, then consider your estate plan an opportunity to enhance your legacy and instruct your descendants of your values.

August is a great time to schedule an appointment with New City and White Plains Parker Law Office to either review your existing will or estate plan, or create a new one. Ensure that you and your family have security and peace of mind, and that the charitable organizations you serve are active in the community long after you are gone.

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