What Makes a Will Valid in New York?

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A will is a critical component of any estate plan because it allows you to record your wishes for how your assets should be divided after you pass away. However, for your will to work as intended, it is vital to take extra care and observe the requirements for a valid will in New York and consider how an estate planning attorney may play a crucial role in the process.

Who Can Write a Will in New York?

In New York, anybody considered of legal age (over 18) and sound mind and memory is allowed to write a will. The person must not have been deemed legally incapacitated before signing the will. A lawfully married minor may also write a will in New York.

The will may contain that person’s wishes for asset distribution, a list of beneficiaries, and what each beneficiary is supposed to receive. The will may be canceled or updated at any time during the testator’s lifetime, but after the testator dies, a court order is required for any changes to be made to the will.

What Are the Requirements for a Valid Will in New York?

Besides meeting the age and mental capability requirements, the state of New York requires all wills to be made in writing on an actual piece of paper rather than using an electronic format. The testator must sign the will in front of two witnesses, and the witnesses should also sign the will.

It is important to note that the witnesses should preferably have no personal interests in the will. In other words, you may not choose a named beneficiary to be the witness at the signing of the will.

Can a Will Be Changed After the Death of the Person Who Wrote It?

If you suspect a loved one’s will was a product of illegal circumstances, such as fraud, coercion, or undue pressure by a family member or caretaker, you may challenge the will in court. The only way to change a will after the testator passes away is through a will contest.

Will challenges are complicated and need to be done carefully – simply being unhappy with what you received as an inheritance is not enough to initiate a will challenge. Speak to an attorney if you believe something is wrong with a loved one’s will.

Do I Need an Attorney to Write My Will?

You do not need an attorney to write your will, but hiring one may be in your best interest. An attorney can help guide you through the whole process with ease and help you ensure the will is valid.

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