If you would like to make a will and you are dealing with a small amount of money, you can print out a New York will form from the internet, fill it out and sign it in front of two witnesses. But where a significant estate is involved, it is important to have an experienced New York wills lawyer draft your documents and conduct the will execution ceremony.
Here are the benefits of a lawyer-drafted will:
- The lawyer will explain the issues you need to address when making a will
- An experienced wills attorney may have done hundreds of wills, and would be familiar with every kind of situation and contingency.
- An experienced estate lawyer would help you avoid all kinds of issues that you would not even consider.
- A will lawyer will give you several estate planning options, and will work with you to find the best possible arrangement.
- A will lawyer will look at the estate tax and income tax consequences of your estate plan and advise you of the best possible strategy.
- In the event your will is challenged, the attorney-draftsman of the will is the best defense against the will being set aside. A lawyer who stands behind the will they’ve drafted is not only an authoritative figure who will virtually guarantee the will, they are also a highly credible witness to a will that is being challenged. The lawyer who drafted the will will testify that the person who made the will had the capacity to make a will, in that they understood who their natural beneficiaries are, understood the extent of their property, understood that they are making a will and what is in that will, and in general possess the understanding and capacity required to make this important life decision.
- If a lawyer is making a will that they know has a possibility of being contested, such as when someone is left out of a will, the will lawyer will utilize defensive will drafting techniques to minimize the possibility of a success of a will contest. Such techniques include getting a doctor’s report prior to drafting a will, meeting with the will maker several times to document the will maker’s consent, making several wills over the years, and inserting a no-contest clause into the will, whereby the person is not being cut out all the way, but is left something but on condition that they will lose that inheritance if they challenge the will.
When probating a will, a qualified wills lawyer is going to make sure that the probate takes the least amount of time, all the laws are followed, and you distribute the estate as fast as possible and without personal liability from the other beneficiaries of the will or from the creditors of the estate. This includes having the beneficiaries sign and appropriately execute releases of liability to the executor of the estate or providing an accounting and having it approved by the court in the even the beneficiaries do not cooperate.
When contesting a will, it is important that you work with a wills lawyer who has experience contesting wills. An experienced lawyer will not only know the law and the procedure, but will also be familiar with the way things are done in the court of the county you are in, and will be an experienced negotiator, doing their best to get you a fair share of the estate without going to trial. If a trial is needed, the will lawyer should be familiar with New York Civil Process Law and Rules and experienced in conducting trials in the Surrogate’s Court.
When defending a will contest, the attorney who has originally drafted the will will not be able to represent you in the will contest, as they are a witness in the proceeding. You will need an attorney who has experience and a track record of successfully defending will contests, either settling for a reasonable amount, waiting for the will contestant to run out of steam, or taking the case to trial. Once again, if a trial is needed, the will lawyer should be familiar with New York Civil Process Law and Rules and experienced in conducting trials in the Surrogate’s Court.
In any situation where a New York will is involved and a significant amount of money is present in an estate, an experienced New York wills lawyer will mean that your rights are fully protected and you will get the best possible outcome allowed by the law and the facts of your case.
Albert Goodwin, Esq. is a New York lawyer who has a wealth of experience drafting wills, probating wills, prosecuting and defending will contests. He can be reached at (212) 233-1233 or (718) 509-9774.