Part of a solid estate plan is a will. This document spells out your wishes and explains what you want to happen with your assets when you die. It provides a legal basis for the distribution of your assets during the probate process. Without a will, the state takes over and makes decisions about asset distribution.
If you want to ensure that the state follows your wishes after your death, then you need to create a will. However, because this is a legal document, you need to be sure that you meet all the requirements when creating it. If you do not, then the state may throw it out and not honor your wishes.
According to the New York State Senate, you must sign your will with your own hand in front of at least two witnesses. If you cannot do this, you can direct another person to do so, but you must be present at the time of the signing.
Your witnesses must also sign the will within 30 days after you sign it. They must also do so in front of a notary, who will validate their signatures. A witness signature indicates that that person watched you sign the document and that you did so under your own free will.
Must be in writing
You need to put your will in writing, which includes typing it. However, you want a physical copy of the legal document. There are some exceptions, but they will have additional rules to ensure validity.
Do not alter the will in any way
Altering the will can make it void. Altering includes anything that changes it from the original state, such as removing staples. If altered, you must include a notarized statement about the changes, why you made them and that nobody made changes to the material in the will.
Creating a legal will is important to ensure that the state follows your wishes when you die. It is essential that you make sure any will you create follows the legal requirements or the state could void it.