Should I create a Will? What happens to my property if I die without a Will?
If you do not have a valid Will when you die, your property that does not pass automatically by operation of law (such as joint bank accounts and life insurance proceeds) will pass according to New York State law – in particular pursuant to the Estate Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL). This statute makes assumptions based on how the State Legislature believes people would want their property to pass. So, in most cases, the surviving spouse and the children (in equal shares) of a deceased person will take his or her property as laid out in the statute. If you want your property to pass according to your wishes which differ from the numerous laws as prescribed by the EPTL, you may want to create a Will to ensure your belongings are distributed in accordance with your wishes.