To make a valid Last Will & Testament in New York, a person must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind.
Sound mind means that the testator had capacity to execute the will. A will is not valid where it is the result of undue influence, coercion or forgery.
New York EPTL requires that certain formalities be followed when executing a will. First, the will has to be in writing,
Second, the will has to be signed by the testator or at his direction if physically unable to sign himself. Third, the will has to be signed by two witnesses in the presences of the testator. Finally, the witnesses must sign in the testator’s presence within 30 days of the testator’s signing and should put their addresses next to their signature.
It is important that witnesses be disinterested parties. If a witness is a beneficiary under the will that gift will be void unless there are at least 2 more disinterested witnesses. To avoid the appearance of impropriety, an attorney-draftsman should not be a beneficiary under the will he is drafting.
If you have any questions regarding the validity of your will, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233