Wills & Estate Planning: The Basics

Understanding the basics of what a Will, a Beneficiary, and an Executor are can help simplify the process of Estate Planning and give you more knowledge, understanding, and confidence as you begin your journey of preserving generational wealth. Here are a few simple definitions that will help deepen your understanding of what a Will is and why it is important for you to consider having one.


What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that specifies what you, the will-maker, wants done with your property and other assets after your death.

Why Do I Need a Will?

Having a will allows you to provide for loved ones you leave behind and give your assets and possessions, including your home, to specific people and organizations according to your wishes. If you pass without a will, there may be confusion, or possibly legal disputes, about how your assets and possessions are distributed to your family. If you have no living relatives, your estate may escheat to the State of New York, meaning the State acquires title to your property.

What is a Beneficiary?

A Beneficiary is a person or organization that you designate to receive your assets or possessions upon death. You can name more than one Beneficiary. Beneficiaries are often children, grandchildren, a spouse, partner, other family members and friends, or even organizations, but it can be whoever you wish. It is important to note, however, that naming a Beneficiary does not require them to accept your gift. Consider whether it makes sense to contact potential Beneficiaries in advance, especially charitable organizations, to make sure your gift is welcome.

What is an Executor?

An Executor is the person or institution you name to be in charge of your estate after your passing. The Executor’s job is to carry out the instructions in your will, such as paying your funeral expenses and distributing your assets to your beneficiaries.

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