NYC Wills Lawyer
Death is inevitable and can occur at any time. It is crucial for one to have a will to express your desire in distributing your properties. Dying intestate allows the court to distribute property according to the intestacy laws. A wills lawyer helps resolve issues that may arise from a decedent will.
Basics of NYC Wills Laws
In New York City, wills are to be written by individuals of 18 years or more. The testator person writing the will must be of sound mind and must sign the will in the presence of two attesting witnesses. Other than a typed will the NYC acknowledges nuncupative (oral) wills which are made by armed forces members while undertaking their naval or military service. The armed force members may also make holographic wills which should strictly be in the testator’s handwriting.
Wills content and guidelines
Writing a valid will is one major step towards avoiding issues that may be costly and time-consuming. A will contains the identity of the executor that the testator trusts, appointed legal guardian for the children, and revoking clause if there is a previous will among other things.
Estate planning helps to eliminate any discrepancies or legal issues that may arise after the death of the testator. Even though it is not compulsory to have a will notarized in NYC, it is highly recommended for one to notarize it. This means it is “self-proving” and can make probate easy and fast. A will must be kept in a safe and easily accessible place.
What you need to know about probate
Upon the death of a testator, the will needs to be filed in the New York Surrogate Court and in the county where the decedent lived. The original last will is to be accompanied by a petition for letters testamentary. The executor or his attorney file probate and furnishes the court with information about heirs and beneficiaries. Heirs and beneficiaries need to be notified of the ongoing probate proceeding. A probate proves the validity of a will and in some cases, there is a will contest.
Who can contest a will?
• Heirs (spouse, children, parent, siblings etc) of the deceased with a pecuniary interest
• Beneficiaries (anyone listed in the will to receive a gift) of previous and recent wills with a pecuniary interest
It is advisable for one to seek legal advice before contesting a will as the process is costly and there may also be consequences. A “no contest” clause seeks to deter parties from challenging the will and gives the consequences if one does, and loses. Grounds for contesting a will
Testamentary capacity – this means that the testator may have been suffering from a mental disorder, did not understand the value of their property, did not understand they were making a will.
Lack of due execution – a will must be in writing and must be signed by the testator in the presence of at least two witnesses. The two witnesses must not be beneficiaries or distributees.
Fraud and forgery – this means that the testator was induced by fraud to execute the will or the signature was forged.
Undue influence – the testator was coerced or was unduly influenced to execute the will. This means that the person did not have the free will to think otherwise due to manipulation. Objecting the appointment of an executor
When heirs are served with a notice, they may sign a waiver and consent to the appointment of the executor or disagree with the appointment. Challenging the appointment of an executor requires the challenger to show there is dishonesty or a conflict of interest. Anyone who objects needs to be aware that there is an order of priority in the appointment of administrators.
Closing the estate
If there is no contest or upon settling such, the court issues a decree and letters of testamentary to the executor. The executor needs to undertake tasks such as paying taxes and debts get a detailed inventory and valuation of assets and close the estate.