Preparation of Wills in New York

Preparation of a will is a very significant step in allocating assets. A New York Will determines who will be inheriting your property after your death. Below is a short analysis of Wills preparation in the state of New York.

How a will helps you in New York?

A will, often called a ‘last will and testament’, can help you protect your heirs and your property after your death. A will is indeed a useful weapon that can be used to:

  • Name someone to act as guardian for your minor children
  • Name a trustee to manage property until your children are minor, and
  • Name an executor, who will make sure the terms of your will are carried out

What if you die without a will?

If you die without a will in New York, your property will be allocated as per the state ‘intestacy’ laws. According to the New York ‘intestacy’ laws, your property will go to your closest relatives - beginning with your spouse and children. If you are unmarried or your spouse is dead and don’t even have any adopted children, the property will go to your parents or to your grandchildren. This list continues with growingly distant relatives including, uncles, siblings, cousins, and your spouse’s relatives. If the court finds that there are no living relatives by either blood or marriage, the state will take on the property.

Do you need an attorney to prepare a will?

You can prepare your will on your own. Nowadays, you can even seek help of many wills preparing softwares found online. However, in certain situations, you may need to consult a lawyer. For instance, if you think that your will may be contested or if you want to disinherit your spouse, you should consult with an attorney.

What are the requirements for signing a will?

In order to finalize a will in the state of New York:

  • A will must be signed in front of two witnesses
  • The witnesses must sign the will

Does a will need to be notarized?

In the state of New York, a will is not required to be notarized in order to make it legal. However, you can make your will ‘self-proving’ and you need to visit a notary if you want to do that. A self-proving will always speeds up the probate procedures as the court can accept the will without contacting the witnesses who signed it.

In order to make your will self-proving, you and the witnesses need to visit the notary and sign an affidavit, which will prove who you are and that each of you knew you were signing the will.

Should an executor be name in the will?

Yes, you can name an executor in the state of New York to take care of the provisions in your will after your death. If there is no executor listed, the probate court will appoint someone to take on the job of winding up your case.

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