How can I ensure my will is legally valid?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Estate Planning |

New Yorkers who are just learning about the will creation process may not be aware of the requirements for a valid will in their state. However, meeting these requirements is essential to making sure the court finds your will to be valid when the time comes to distribute your assets.

Each state has its own requirements for creating a valid will. In New York, these requirements include:

  • Testator (creator of the will) must be at least 18 years old at the time of creation.
  • Testator must have a sound mind and memory at the time of creation. This means that the testator understands the significance and purpose of the document and what you are including in it.
  • The will must be in writing.
  • The will must be signed by the testator or someone on behalf of the testator, in the testator’s presence.
  • The will must be signed by at least two uninterested, credible witnesses who can verify that you signed the will.
  • Notarizing a will is not required, but can help expedite the probate process, as a notarized will is “self-proving.”

What do I need to include in my will?

Your will is an integral part of the whole estate planning process. In addition to meeting the requirements listed above, you should also make sure that your will addresses what is important to you.

Your will may name the executor of your estate, your child’s future guardian, a caretaker for your pet, and heath care agents who will decide on your medical care if necessary.

You may also provide a list of your assets and name which beneficiaries will be entitled to which assets.

Finally, you should also make a declaration of testamentary intent, stating that you intend for the document to be your final will and testament.