A will is a formal legal document that allows you to dictate how you want your estate to be managed and distributed upon your death. The state of New York has clear laws as to how your will is validated and executed in the manner in which you intended it to be. Failure to follow Long Island laws could actually mean that your will is deemed invalid – and your beneficiaries are left to clean up the mess. There are precautions that you can take to ensure that you have a valid will – and they are simple, easy-to-do steps, too.
Verify Legal Requirements
This is the most critical stage of estate planning. It is why you need to hire an estate planning attorney to draft your will – because he or she can ensure that it is in accordance with all estate and probate laws. You need to also review the age requirements and make sure that you have drafted a will when you are legally allowed to do so.
Hire an Attorney
While there are DIY sites that promise you great results, these lack the complexity needed to handle things like children, guardianship, trusts, retirement accounts, multiple properties, investments, and more. An attorney in New York can help you add all necessary provisions and execute your will based on state laws. He or she can also help alleviate the stress associated with creating an estate plan in the first place.
Typewrite Your Will
Do not rely on a handwritten will. While it can sometimes to be considered valid, you are better off always having a typed will. This can prevent confusion or claims of forgery, as well. Also, oral wills should never be used – especially for complex estate matters.
Consider videotaping your wishes to help further validate the claims and requirements in your will. Videotaping yourself reading and signing the will may show that you are of sound mental capacity – so that there can be no contest of your mental state. While you don’t need to be declared mentally incompetent by a court, the courts may allow testimony from disgruntled beneficiaries. If their claims are convincing enough, your will may be contested. Videotaping the process can help eliminate these issues.
Have Substantiated Provisions
You need to indicate your intent in making the document, and that your final word shows that you understand the consequences of your actions taken by the will. In other words, you should show that you are aware of what will happen when the will is executed. The provisions will also help further demonstrate mental capacity and the clear establishment of your intent – so that there are no ambiguous claims made later.
In order to validate your will, you will need to sign it yourself, have a notary, and even have witnesses. There are various numbers of witnesses that you can have, but it is in your best interest to have more than less – to further establish the validity of your will.
Ready to Get Started? Contact a Will Attorney in Long Island
If you need to get started on your estate planning process, contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today. He can assist you with all aspects of estate planning, including healthcare directives, wills, special needs, businesses, and more. Schedule a free consultation by calling 516-605-0625, or request your appointment online.