What Makes a Valid NY Will?

All too often, the last will and testament gets written off as the most basic estate planning document, but it’s crucial that you understand what makes a valid will in NY.  State laws will take over to push the estate through probate.  This can have the unintended impact of meaning that your assets are not distributed the way that you were intended.

Your will must meet the legal requirements in your state.  The document has to be written, signed by the individual making the will, and also signed by two witnesses who were present at the time the will was executed.  In the state of New York, any person over the age of eighteen of sound mind (as well as individuals under the age of eighteen who are legally married) are eligible to make a will.

The written will, once created, has to be signed by a witness within thirty days in the presence of the individual who created the will.  If the individual executing the will is not able to sign the will on their own, another person can do so by listing their individual residence and name.  This party, however, cannot be the same person who has also served as a witness.

Witnesses to a will execution should fall under the category of “disinterested”, a term usually reserved for beneficiaries of the will.  Gifts to witnesses of the will can be classified as void unless there were two other disinterested witnesses.

Make sure that you are clear on the most up to date New York laws when it comes to valid wills.  Having an attorney review your document can help to eliminate problems and ensure that your will is in line with your wishes.