Dying Without A Will In New York: Part 2

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In order to make sure your assets are allocated according to your intent, it is imperative to have a will executed, recorded, and safely stored to be valid after your death. Seeking the advice of a legal profession will ensure that the contents of the will are clear, and will fully encompass the assets sought to be distributed. An advising lawyer can also help make sure that assets with beneficiary designation forms, which supersede even properly executed wills, remain current with a client’s most current wishes.

These assets include retirement accounts, 401(k) plans and life insurance. Often times, beneficiary designation forms are filled out and left unaltered years later when situations change. The most problematic scenario is when an ex-spouse is listed on one of these forms even years after a divorce. If the decedent has not altered these forms before their death, these assets will still go to the person listed as the beneficiary, i.e. the ex-spouse, and will only be distributed according to intestate rules if the beneficiary legally disclaims his or her rights to the assets.

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