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A Will should designate an executor, whose responsibilities include determining the assets of your estate, file any required estate tax returns, pay required estate taxes, pay creditors and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries. We will generally recommend, for a variety of reasons, that there be several trusts within the Will. Trusts created in a Will are called “Testamentary Trusts”, and those created during lifetime are sometimes referred to as “Intervivos Trusts”. The Trustees of Testamentary Trusts need to be designated in one’s Will, as is the person or persons (a “Guardian”) who minor children will live with after the death of both parents. After death, in New York, a Will is filed with a Court in a proceeding called “Probate”, which involves proving that a Will was indeed the last validly executed Will. Unlike other states, in New York, the probate process does not have minimum statutory fees for attorneys handling the estate, and for most clients, the probate process in New York works well, and generally in a much less expensive manner than many clients anticipate.

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