While most people know they should have a will, according to AARP, only 40 percent of Americans actually have one.
At Merlino & Gonzalez, we know how essential wills are when it comes to protecting your loved ones. Our Staten Island estate planning attorneys have more than 20 years of experience drafting wills for clients throughout New York and New Jersey, and we can help you too. Contact us today so you’re not caught on the wrong side of the above statistic. Don’t let your family down when it matters most.
Wills are Not Only for the Elderly
It’s a complete myth that young and middle-aged people do not need wills, because no one can deny that it’s possible for people in these age brackets to pass away. Just think about the daily media reports of fatal accidents and crimes taking young lives, or of all the celebrities who have tragically died well before their time. No matter what age you are, it’s the right time to consider what would happen to the life you left behind and those you care about if something happened to you.
What Purposes Does a Will Serve Staten Island or New Jersey Residents?
A will is an essential document to a thorough estate plan. It serves several extremely important purposes, including:
- Naming your beneficiaries, or those you want to inherit your assets.
- Naming a personal representative (an executor) to administer your estate.
- Designating a guardian for your minor children if you are a single parent or if you and your children’s other parent both die in the same accident.
- Communicating your specific wishes regarding inheritance of particular items and desires about how you want your after-death arrangements handled.
- Establishing a trust if one of your beneficiaries is a minor so that a trustee you choose will manage your child’s assets until they reach maturity.
Our experienced estate planning attorneys do not take drafting a will lightly and never recommend a cookie-cutter document. Instead, we’ll take the time to discuss your priorities, answer your questions, and address your concerns before tailoring a will to meet your particular needs.
Our attorneys are well-versed not only in wills, but in probate, trusts, and all the laws pertaining to estate planning. You can rely on us to provide you not only with efficient legal representation, but the empathy this process deserves. We understand the emotional challenges associated with thinking about your own mortality, but can promise you that once you’ve signed your will, you’ll feel a weight lifted in knowing you’ve secured your family’s future.
Why You Don’t Want to Die Without a Will
Not having a will takes away your control over who will manage your estate, who will inherit your assets, and how your children will be cared for and raised. If you die without a will (intestate), the court will appoint an executor to manage your estate, and that person will
have to follow the laws of intestacy—and those laws may be very different than what you would have wanted.
These laws stipulate a particular sequence of inheritance based entirely on bloodlines, so, depending on circumstances, a distant relative may inherit your assets while your best friend or a close in-law is ignored.
If you die without a will, the court will also designate a guardian for your children who may not have been your first, second, or even third choice for the role, and whose beliefs and parenting methods do not correspond to your own.
Lastly, without a will to prove your documented wishes, you may add pain to the grief your family members are already dealing with. Their hurt and resentment may give rise to arguments, perhaps even causing a family rift. No doubt this is not the legacy you envisioned leaving, so be proactive about what you do leave behind. Contact Merlino & Gonzalez to ensure that your loved ones are protected and provided for the way you want.
Why Our Attorneys are the Right Choice When it Comes to Preparing Your Will
Though it’s entirely possible to download templates for wills directly from the internet, do you really want to make such a serious undertaking a one-size-fits-all, do-it-yourself project? Without the training, knowledge, and skills of an estate planning attorney, that’s very well what you may end up with. You’re also more likely to make expensive or distressing mistakes, even ones substantial enough to provoke a contested will, which can do more harm than good for your family.
The Probate Process and Establishing Trusts
Probate, or the legal process through which a will is validated, can be costly and time-consuming, especially if you have a large, complex estate. It’s also an entirely public proceeding that opens the details of your will to public scrutiny. But many of our clients can avoid probate by creating trusts. And trusts have other advantages too, such as avoiding estate taxes, protecting a special-needs individual from losing government benefits, or carefully providing funds to a loved one incapable of handling money.
A Will is Only the Beginning of Your Estate Planning in Staten Island or New Jersey
While creating a will is vital to protecting your family, there are many other important steps our estate planning lawyers can take on your behalf to keep your life running smoothly, prepare you for your retirement, protect your assets, and address your potential incapacity.
Strong estate plans should also always leave room for modifications, because life is always changing. For example, births, marriages, adoptions, and divorces can rapidly change your estate plans. As your estate planning attorneys, Merlino & Gonzalez will meet with you on a regular basis to update your will and your estate plan to keep it relevant to all the life changes you experience.
Contact Our Accomplished Staten Island or New Jersey Wills Attorney Today!
None of us knows what the future holds. That’s why it’s best to be proactive now. We’re eager to help you create a will to safeguard your assets and your family, so give us a call or contact us through our website so we can assist you efficiently and effectively with putting life’s most important affairs in order.
Merlino & Gonzalez help residents of New York & New Jersey with their will needs. Since their primary office is in Staten Island, they receive a lot of clients there as well as in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, & The Bronx.