In general, you’re able to leave assets to who you want in your estate plan. However, there are some exceptions to this in certain states when it comes to immediate family members like a spouse or children. You’ll need to discuss your estate planning arrangements with a lawyer to get clarity on what to expect.
Proper New York estate planning requires meeting with a knowledgeable lawyer to guide you through the process and have clarity over the entirety of your estate. If you are unable to meet with an attorney, the state of New York will determine what happens to your assets and it is unlikely that their plan coincides with your individual intentions.
For this reason, you want to hire a lawyer well in advance and discuss your options. There is a good chance that you have desires about passing on assets to your spouse or your loved ones but it is also a common question to determine whether or not you must pass things on to your family members. The state of New York protects minor children and spouses from being left nothing in a will in the vast majority of circumstances.
Your surviving spouse, therefore, has the legal right to claim in court a portion of your estate even if you have explicitly said otherwise in your will. It is legal, however, to disinherit someone over the age of 18. While you do not need an attorney to draft your will for you, it is strongly recommended that you hire a lawyer to assist you with that process. Do not hesitate to get help from an experienced New York City estate planning lawyer today.