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What are the requirements for a valid will in New York?

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | Estate Planning

A will essentially serves as instructions for distributing your assets after you are gone. To ensure that your will is legally binding, you should make sure that it meets all state requirements.

Under New York estate laws, a will must meet the following requirements:

  • Testator or creator of the will must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind..
  • Testator must not be subjected to undue influence or coercion.
  • The will must be in writing (oral wills are only accepted in rare situations).
  • The will must be signed by the testator in the presence of two uninterested witnesses, who also must sign it.

Although it is not required, the testator may also include an attestation clause at the end of the will. The witnesses will sign the clause, stating that they witnessed the testator signing the will and that they believe the testator was of sound mind at the time.

The testator may also attach a self-proving affidavit, which is a sworn statement signed by you and your witnesses in front of a notary stating that your will complies with all requirements.

What happens if the court invalidates my will?

If your will does not meet the listed requirements, it may be contested and deemed invalid. As a result, your assets may be distributed in accordance with intestacy laws, which may or may not go against your wishes. An invalid will may also lead to costly delays in the probate process, which could prevent your beneficiaries from receiving their assets on time.