Benefits of a Will in New York
In short, a will puts you and your family in control of events that occur after your passing. New York laws are especially broad in this area.
For example, a will can designate a guardian for minor children as well as an executor of the estate. Guardians and executors have limited powers in some jurisdictions, but not in the Empire State.
Additionally, New York law provides for self-proving affidavits. These affidavits make it almost impossible to challenge a will’s validity.
New York law does not require wills to be notarized. Nevertheless, the will execution rules are rather complex. At Dilendorf Law Firm, we follow all best practices for will execution. The extra time we take gives you additional peace of mind.
Two witnesses must attest to the testator’s (person making a will) signature in New York. These witnesses must meet certain legal qualifications. Additionally, they must personally see the testator sign the document.
Additional complexities arise if the testator amends a will or adds a codicil. We generally recommend that people physically destroy their current wills in these cases and start afresh. This approach avoids confusion later.
Codicils and other documents, especially if they are clearly contrary to the other provisions in the will, often invite will contests. The same is true if the will was signed under unusual circumstances, for instance in a nursing home as opposed to an attorneys office. In New York, will contests have three basic legal elements, as follows:
- Motive: In this context, motive almost always involves financial gain. The extent of the motive, or lack thereof, usually depends on the relationship between the financial gain and the size of the estate.
- Opportunity: Was the alleged undue influencer able to access the testator, maybe because of the nature of the relationship between the two? And, perhaps because of age, depression, or medication, was the testator susceptible to undue influence?
- Actual Influence: Theoretical influence or subtle pressure is not enough. Circumstantial evidence of actual influence includes the role the person played in the process and whether the person retained copies after the fact.
The challenging party has the burden of proof in these matters. Generally, that burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
A will is a cornerstone of a comprehensive estate plan. For a confidential consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer in New York, contact Dilendorf Law Firm. Convenient payment plans are available.
New York Wills and Estates Lawyers
Dilendorf Law Firm
60 Broad Street, 24th Floor,New York,New York-10004,
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