Children can be incredibly precocious and capable of understanding complex themes and ideas. However, most children develop on a relatively regular schedule wherein their ability to manage their own needs and affairs is not possible until they are nearing adulthood. Since children cannot be trusted to take care of their own interests, they are generally not afforded the same rights as adults.
Generally, children cannot own property and cannot vote in elections for public officers. A child cannot be sued by an allegedly aggrieved party, and a child cannot enter into many types of contracts. Children cannot engage with many legal processes on their own, and in many jurisdictions that also means that they cannot draft and execute their own wills.
In New York a person must be at least 18 years of age in order to create their own enforceable will. However, age is not the only requirement that they must meet. Will creators must also be of sound mind and memory in order to have their wills validated, and as readers of this blog may know challenges and will contests can arise from the interpretation of these terms.
It is expected that parents, guardians, or other responsible adults will provide the care and management necessary for a child to reach adulthood. Once they do, they can take control of their own affairs, and that includes creating a will that will meet their testamentary intentions. Wills are complex legal documents that convey certain rights and interests to those who are included as beneficiaries in them. Legal counsel can help individuals who wish to draft or update their wills.