A last will and testament, simply called a will, is a very powerful document on which you decide what happens to your wealth when you die. On it, you expressly write out your wishes on how you want your assets disposed, and who they will go to. Your will is bound by state laws.
In Buffalo, NY, your will must conform to all New York laws and requirements for validity. An invalid last will and testament will be discarded by the court when you pass away.
To ensure your Buffalo will is compliant with NY laws and addresses all your estate concerns, get guidance from an estate planning attorney Buffalo.
Requirements for writing a valid Last Will and Testament in Buffalo NY
1. You (the testator) must be above the legal age of 18.
2. You must be of a sound mind at the time of writing and signing the will.
3. The will must bear your signature.
4. There must be at least two witnesses who must each sign to attest to their presence during your signatory.
5. They must sign to attest to the presence of each other.
Naming an executor
An executor is the person charged with carrying out your wishes in your will. It’s important you name this person in the document. When you pass away, they file it in the probate court for validation. If they find the will to be valid, they will then grant you authority over your estate to pay off your debts, taxes, and dispose it according to your will.
It’s helpful to choose someone competent since probate is often problematic. However, an estate planning lawyer in Buffalo can help you draft your will and estate plan such that probate is minimized.
Note that your executor must be a resident of New York to be eligible.
Having an invalid will
If your will is found to be invalid or you didn’t write one, your estate is declared intestate. In intestacy, your wishes are not known so the court will decide for you who has a share in your estate. To avoid that from happening, it’s a great idea to plan now by hiring a Last will and testament attorney in Buffalo.
Establishing guardianship in your last will
If you have minors, we advise you name a guardian for them in your will. That is because children under 18 can’t inherit property under New York law. So to ensure your kids and the assets you left for them are well looked after, you should name someone to do it when you pass away. They can inherit whatever is left when they come of age.
Reasons why you need to hire a last will and testament attorney in Buffalo
One can write a will without expert help if their situation is simple. Say they have a home, bank account, a car, jewelries, a spouse and kids. If you are conversant with the requirements, you can draft your will yourself.
But there are situations that require expert hands. Consider the following:
- You have real property in multiple states
- You are in a blended family with kids from another marriage
- You have complexly owned assets
- You do not fully understand how your assets are owned
- You have a child with special needs
- You have minors
- You are familiar with estate tax and wonder if your estate will be subject to it
- You wish to minimize probate or avoid it because you’ve heard just how complex, expensive, and stressful it can be
- You want to know more about your options when it comes to asset transfer.
If you find yourself in any of the situations as above, it’s best to get expert help to avoid making costly mistakes.
Updating your will
As your situation changes, you may need to revise your will to account for the change. For instance, a named beneficiary may pass away before you. You would have to remove their name from the document and allocate their supposed inheritance to someone else.
Also, if you get a new child, get divorced and remarry, acquire or lose assets, an update would be required.
Your will attorney can do that by making a codicil to the will without destroying the original.
Last Will and Testament Attorney near me, Buffalo NY
Call us today to speak with a Last Will and Testament Attorney in Buffalo NY.