an estate plan and will


Planning for one’s estate is an important step everyone should consider. Developing a comprehensive estate plan can protect your wishes for the future of your estate and your family from undue stress after you pass. An estate plan is usually centered around a will. A will is a testamentary document that declares what should happen to your possessions after you pass. Whether you wish to provide for your family or leave money to a charity, our firm can help you make informed decisions about your estate and draft a will that documents them. Discussing these sensitive matters is understandably difficult. That said, having control over your estate is quite important and our firm will do everything to provide a comforting environment to discuss these issues and help you complete your will and your estate plan. If you would like to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your estate planning needs or our legal services, contact The Lauterbach Law Firm for a consultation.

Do I need a will?

A will is an important document. Everyone should have one, no matter their means. Even the most modest individuals have worked a lifetime, accumulating assets and possessions of personality. A will declares directions for your estate. Through a will, you can distribute your possessions to anyone you please and divide your estate according to your wishes. Without a will, there is a lot that can go awry. If you were to pass intestate (without a will), you could leave decisions regarding your estate to a judge. In addition, not having a will opens families up to legal issues and infighting when their energies should be focused on healing after a significant loss.

Executing a valid will

For a will to be valid, it needs to satisfy certain requirements. In New York, a will must be in writing and signed. During that signing ceremony, at least two witnesses must be present who acknowledge why they are there and that the subject of the will is of full capacity to sign the document. In some cases, the witnesses will sign a document attesting to these facts. Once executed properly, a will can be filed and probated.

Can I modify a will?

Your will can be considered a “work in progress.” Life changes and so should the terms of a will. As life progresses, so does a family’s circumstances. A will can be modified to meet those changes for a number of reasons or no reason at all. Some reasons a person may decide to modify a will, including, but not limited to:

  • The birth of a child
  • Divorce
  • Adoption
  • The death of a spouse
  • Remarriage
  • Change of financial circumstances

Can a will be contested?

It is important to note that wills can be contested. In some cases, a will’s contents are questionable to beneficiaries. It is quite rare for a will executed with the help of an attorney to be overturned, but it does happen. Beneficiaries can challenge a will if there are suspicious signs. The basis for these legal actions can include, but are not limited to:

  • Undue influence
  • Lack of capacity
  • Invalid execution
  • Fraudulence or forgery

Contact the Lauterbach Law Firm

Drafting a will is an important step towards a comprehensive estate plan. When considering this essential step, it is important to discuss your situation with an attorney. The Lauterbach Law Firm provides effective and experienced legal services for clients in Rockland County, Westchester County, and the Lower Hudson Valley. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation with an experienced law firm, contact The Lauterbach Law Firm today.

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