Last will and testament
A last will and testament is officially called a legal will or simply a will. It is a legal written document which contains what a person wants done to their estate property after they die. As a resident of Long Island and owning one or more estate in the city, it is highly recommended you draft a legal will Long Island in order to protect your family’s financial future.
At the event of your death, you would be leaving behind a number of persons who have been financially dependent on you, such as your spouse, children and/or relatives, and when you die, they will be left in trauma. You’d want certain proportions of your property to go to each of such persons so as to leave them financial buoyant enough to start up or continue their lives.
In a will, you name an executor who will administer your estate and distribute to the beneficiaries but before this can happen, every legal will Long Island will be probated in a Surrogate’s court. In the court, the will be checked whether it was written according to the estate laws of the state.
If your will was prepared for you by the estate planning lawyer, it is good you discuss where to place the will for safekeeping. Wills can be kept in a vault in a Surrogate’s court until the testator dies. If a person dies leaving less than 30,000 USD worth of personal property, then a small estate also called a voluntary administration can be filed instead.
Note that wills are confidential and private and must be kept secret until they’re probated after the testator dies. During probate, the will becomes public.
Requirements for having a valid legal will Long Island
For your will to be valid in Long Island:
- You the testator, must be at least 18 years old;
- You must be of sound mind and memory;
- You must acknowledge or sign your will in the presence of at least two witnesses;
- Your witnesses should not both be beneficiaries of the will;
- You must declare to the witnesses that what you’re signing is indeed your last will;
- And such witnesses must put their signatures on the will in your presence.
Your signature must be the last thing on the will as anything below it would not be recognized. You may choose to notarize your will through a notary but while this is not a requirement, it is advisable to have your will notarized because it makes your will self-proven. A self-proven will speeds up the probate process as it is always acceptable by the law court.
To notarize a will, you and your witnesses go to a notary and write a statement of who you are and that you were of sound mind when signing the will (free from external manipulation or duress).
What you can do with a legal will Long Island
A legal will generally gives protection for your property and your family’s financial future. Things you can use a valid legal will to do includes:
- Leaving or distributing your assets to persons or organizations.
- Appointing a guardian — thus creating guardianship — for yourself when you get old and for your minor children if any.
- Naming a trustee who will manage your property until your minor(s) get(s) old enough to handle them themselves.
- Naming an executor who will make sure that the terms of your will are carried out to the letter.
Why it's advisable to consult an attorney before signing your last will
You may be ignorant about some of the existing estate laws binding Long Island. If you draft your will in a manner that is not in full compliance with these laws, then your will becomes invalid and your wishes will be mere words without any legal backing. You may also have certain things which you want to incorporate into your will, such as Medicaid plan, guardianship, trust, or you may desire to disinherit your spouse. All these require proper and delicate planning as well as technical know-how.
An estate planning lawyer can help guide you in writing your will. He will listen to your demands and would know just how to convert them into an effective legal instrument. He will help draft your will according to the estate laws existing in Long Island.