Creating a will is an important part of estate planning, and it can provide peace of mind for both you and your loved ones. However, the laws surrounding wills can be complex and vary from state to state. If you are a resident of New York, it is important to understand the specific requirements for creating a will in the state. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will provide an overview of the key considerations when creating a will in New York, including legal requirements, common mistakes to avoid, and the role of probate courts in administering estates and distributing assets. Whether you are creating a will for the first time or updating an existing document, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to create a legally valid and effective will in the state of New York.
Decide what property to include in your will
List your key assets to get started. Decide which objects will be left by other means, against your desire, after that. (For instance, you might already have designated a beneficiary for your bank or retirement account, or you might prefer to keep specific assets out of the probate process.) If you’re married, keep in mind that each spouse creates a separate will. If you possess any assets jointly with your spouse, you can only leave your portion of those assets.
Decide who will inherit your property
Choosing who receives what is usually not difficult. (But, if you’re thinking about leaving your spouse or kids out of your will, proceed with caution.) Don’t forget to select backup (contingent) beneficiaries after making your initial selections in the event that you pass away before your first choices are realized.
Choose an executor to handle your estate
You can designate an executor in your will who will carry out the directives in the document. The executor is in charge of managing the probate procedure, asset distribution, and settlement of debts and taxes. Your executor can always employ a lawyer, accountant, or other professional to aid, so they don’t need to have any special experience. Nonetheless, be certain that the candidate you have in mind is ready to work; the position shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Choose a guardian for your children
Decide who you want to raise your small children if you and their other parents are unable to, which is a very remote possibility.
Choose someone to manage the children’s property
You should designate an adult to administer the property you leave to children or young adults. You can designate that person as a trustee, a property guardian, or a property custodian under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) to give them control over the child’s inheritance.
Make your will
When it comes to how to make a will, you have several choices. You can:
- Hire a lawyer. Many people choose to hire a lawyer to make their estate plan, and this is unequivocally the best choice if you need or want personalized legal advice—and you can afford to pay.
- Use a statutory form. A few states provide a standard will form that you can fill out if you are a resident of that state. These states are California, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. On the upside, statutory wills are simple, easy to fill out, and familiar to the probate court. On the other hand, they are often too simple and inflexible to be useful to most people.
Sign your will in front of witnesses
You must sign your will after you’ve written it in front of two witnesses at a minimum. Your signature must also be notarized if you’re utilizing a “self-proving affidavit” with your will in order to streamline the probate court process once you pass away.
Store your will safely
If your loved ones are unable to locate your will after your passing, it will be of no use to anyone. Share the location with your executor and store it somewhere secure with clear labeling. Your family should be able to find it in a file cabinet or desk drawer where you keep it with other critical papers. You do not need to store it in a lock box, and doing so can make you will take longer to be administered when you pass away.