Leaving behind a comprehensive and valid will can increase the odds that an individual's last wishes will be honored. However, there are steps that everyone should take when creating such a document. For instance, it is important to become familiar with state law to determine what may happen if a will is determined to be invalid. Typically, that would mean that a spouse would inherit assets first followed by children and then parent's and other distant relatives.
Some New York residents may not realize that wills are not the only method by which a person's assets can be posthumously transferred. Many types of assets contain beneficiary designations that allow them to be passed outside of probate. Beneficiary designations made without the proper amount of planning can have lasting financial consequences, so it is important to take them into account during the estate planning process.