Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
Serving the legal needs of corporations, individuals and
families of Suffolk County since 1972

Everyone needs a will, even single, childless people

New York residents know that having a will is important when it comes to disposing of their assets after they've passed away. Yet, a 2016 Gallup study found that 56 percent of Americans do not have this important document.

If a married parent dies intestate, their assets generally will be divided up between the surviving spouse and children. Complications can arise when the person is not married, is living with someone without the benefit of marriage, is married but the couple has no children or is unmarried with no children. One example of what could happen is when a married person with no children dies without a will, the surviving spouse inherits their assets. Then if the spouse dies shortly thereafter; everything would go to that spouse's family, which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if the spouse hadn't detested her family.

Additional problems may arise for an unmarried couple living together long-term. If something happens to one partner, that partner's family is likely to be the one making decisions, decisions the partner might not have approved of. Unmarried couples may be able to avert problems by appointing someone under a power of attorney. Single people with no children frequently leave assets to nieces or nephews. It's a good idea to discuss this with family members first.

By having wills, many of these problems may be avoided and the person has the satisfaction of knowing their hard-earned assets will be disposed of according to their wishes. A will is an important part of estate planning, and an attorney can often assist in making sure a client's last wishes are carried out.

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