Common Myths and Misconceptions About Estate Planning

Estate Planning and Tax Advisor & Alert

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PUBLISHED ON: July 1, 2004

1. I Have a Spouse and Two Children, So Even Without a Will the Law Provides for Everything to Pass to My Spouse.

Not true. The law of the state in which you are domiciled at the time of your death provides for the disposition of your estate in the event that you die intestate (without a will). In New York, if you are survived by a spouse and children, the spouse receives only the first $50,000 and one-half of the balance, and the children receive the other half. Moreover, if any of the children is a minor, a guardian may have to be appointed by the Surrogate’s Court to receive the minor’s share, and the minor will be entitled to his or her share upon reaching 18 years of age. A will can provide that if you leave any share passing to a child the share shall be held in trust until the minor attains the age set forth in your will.