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Requirements for New York wills to be properly executed

Wills in New York must meet several criteria before they are executed properly by a probate court. First and foremost, they must be in writing rather than in the form of oral testimony. A will must be signed by the one who wrote it or by a person in his or her presence and at his or her direction. A person who signs for the one who wrote the will does not count as a witness to the will execution.

At least two witnesses must be able to attest within a 30-day period that the one who wrote the will either signed it or directed another to sign it in his or her name. Their signatures and addresses must be affixed to the end of the will. The will must be signed in the presence of these witnesses, or the one who drafted the will must acknowledge the signature to each witness separately. Additionally, the drafter of the will must declare to each witness that the legal instrument is in fact his or her will.

Most of the formal requirements for execution and attestation of wills involve making sure that the will is indeed the will of its drafter. As such, these formal requirements do not need to be followed in any set order, but all necessary formalities must be observed within a satisfactory period of time.

For assistance in drafting a New York will as well as help with making sure all the formalities are properly adhered to, an estate planning lawyer may be able to help. Estate planning lawyers assist with numerous end-of-life financial decisions such as setting up trusts, managing tax concerns and drawing up a will to handle the transmission of one's estate. They may also be able to assist with handling any probate court issues should they come up.

Source: FindLaw, "N.Y. EPT. LAW § 3-2.1 : NY Code - Section 3-2.1: Execution and attestation of wills; formal requirements", November 16, 2014

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