A valid will can be an important part of a White Plains resident’s estate plan, but it is an unfortunate fact that many people mistakenly believe that their wills meet all of the state’s technical requirements. When a will lacks certain provisions or legal requirements, it may be deemed invalid and may be set aside when a person passes on. It is important that individuals seek individual legal counsel to ensure that their wills are up-to-date and legally sound to avoid having them disregarded after their deaths.

One of the most important requirements that New York imposes on wills is that testators must sign their own wills. Without a signature a will is considered invalid and the signing of a will must be witnessed by two other people. The presence of witnesses at the signing of a will helps to protect testators from being forced into executing wills that are contrary to their interests.

Additionally, testators in New York must be adults and of sound mind to make wills. Children do not have the power to execute wills and individuals who lack sufficient mental capacity to understand what their wills cover may not be able to engage in this estate planning process.

Finally, New York wills must be in writing. The only way that an oral or spoken will can be honored is if it is executed by a member of the military during a period of armed conflict. To learn more about these and other requirements for creating and executing valid wills, readers are asked to contact their own estate planning lawyers as this post does not provide any specific legal advice.