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The elements of a valid will

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2021 | Trust, Estate Planning, and Probate |

If you had been living in New York at the time of your death, your estate will likely be bound by its probate laws. Generally speaking, the state will consider a will to be valid if it is signed and dated by the testator. Furthermore, it must be signed by two witnesses who can confirm that when the testator created and executed the document, he or she was of sound mind.

What if you can’t sign your own name?

New York law permits another person to sign a will on your behalf while in your presence. Whoever signs the will must include his or her signature on the document, and it is important to note that this individual cannot be included as a witness. If the will is not signed, it will likely be considered invalid by a probate judge.

What happens if language is added after your signature?

Generally speaking, anything that is written after your signature is considered to be invalid. However, it typically will not invalidate any part of the will that comes before your signature. Furthermore, a court may deem such text to be admissible if failing to do so would render the rest of the document incomprehensible or otherwise go against your final wishes.

Working with an estate planning attorney may minimize the chances that your will is declared invalid. For instance, he or she may review the document to ensure that it was signed and dated properly. A legal professional may also take steps to make sure that the text of the document is legible and demonstrates that when you created it, you were of sound mind.