A last will and testament is an important document that allows you to control your assets, property, and finances after death. It is especially important for parents with minor children, as it allows them to appoint a legal guardian. A probate court is responsible for establishing the validity of the living will and carrying out the instructions within it, as long as three conditions are met. If these conditions are not met, then an intestate succession takes place, which follows its own default procedures.
Anyone over 18 years of age should use a Last Will and Testament to help avoid potential disputes or confusion regarding their estate. Without a will, you would not be able to give away property to a non-relative or exclude certain relatives from claiming an inheritance. In New York State, if you die without a will, your estate is divided between your surviving spouse and minor children according to a predetermined formula defined in state law. If none of them survive, other members of your family may be entitled to part or all of your estate. Making a simple will usually doesn't involve complicated legal issues.
You can get a book on wills from your library or get information online to learn what to do; make sure that what you read refers specifically to New York State. It is important to understand the laws in your state so that you can make sure that your wishes are carried out after you pass away.