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How Many Witnesses For a Will in New York?

How many witnesses does a New York will require to be valid? A Will is going to be valid with two witnesses. However, many New York estate attorneys choose to use three witnesses, with the theory that if one of the witnesses is later unable to testify or is disqualified, there will still be two witnesses and the Will is going to be valid.

It’s important to remember that the witnesses should not be people who are standing to gain from the Will in any way, not even indirectly, and that the witnesses are competent and over the age of 18.

If you are drafting a New York Will by yourself, it’s important to recognize a few things. It may or may not work, since let’s face it – you don’t really know what you’re doing. You should only use it when you have an estate that is small, when a will more or less follows what would have happened to your estate if not for the will, and if you’re absolutely sure that the will is not going to be contested.

When a will may be contested, it’s a good idea to do defensive will drafting, such as getting a doctor’s testimony that the person making the will has the mental capacity to do so, and perhaps recording the will execution on video. Needless to say, if a will has even a small possibility of being contested, it should only be drafted with an assistance of an estate attorney. There are steps a lawyer can take and extra documents and extra will clauses that we can draft that will make the Will stronger and much more difficult to challenge.

If you are looking for an attorney to draft your will, call Albert Gurevich, Esq. at (212) 233-1233.