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New York Estate Planning



You must be at least 18 years old and "of sound mind" to create a last will and testament (and other estate planning documents) in New York state. An estate planning attorney can discuss your legal needs, recommend the estate planning documents that are appropriate for your situation and create those documents for you.

Among the most common estate planning tools:

  • The last will and testament, which lets you explain how your estate should be distributed after your death. You can also use a will to name an executor to manage your estate, and to name a legal guardian for your minor children.
  • A financial power of attorney, which lets you empower an attorney in fact to handle certain legal and financial tasks on your behalf.
  • A healthcare power of attorney, which is used to designate a surrogate to make medical decisions on your behalf if you're incapacitated.
  • A living will, which is used to detail your end-of-life treatment decisions.

Do You Need a Last Will & Testament?

The majority of adults don't have a last will and testament--or any estate planning documents. But estate planning isn't just for the elderly and people who are wealthy. Almost every adult can benefit from some basic estate planning.

You should have a last will if you fall into any of the following categories:

  • You have children under the age of 18
  • You have an estate, or assets such as real estate, money or personal property
  • You don't want your estate distributed according to New York intestacy laws, which govern how an estate is to be distributed if a person dies without a will
  • You support people other than a spouse and children, and want to ensure that they receive some of your estate after your death
  • You own a business
  • You live with a partner but are not married

Find & Hire Local New York Estate Planning Attorneys

Whether you live in Manhattan or Rochester, Syracuse or Yonkers, or elsewhere in New York, Attorneys.com can help you locate estate planning lawyers and probate attorneys in your area. To use our free, no-obligation lawyer referral service, call us at 877-913-7222 or complete the form on this page.