What is a will, and what should it include?

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What is a will, and what should it include

What is a Will and What Should It Include in New York

A last will and testament, commonly known as a “will,” is a legal document that outlines a person’s wishes regarding the distribution of their assets and the care of their dependents after their death. In New York, as in many other states, creating a well-structured and legally sound will is essential for ensuring that your wishes are respected and your loved ones are provided for. At Morgan Legal Group in New York City, we specialize in helping individuals create comprehensive wills that stand up to legal scrutiny. This guide will explore what a will is and what it should include in New York.

Understanding the Importance of a Will

A will serves several crucial purposes, including:

1. Asset Distribution

One of the primary functions of a will is to specify how your assets should be distributed after your death. This includes real estate, personal property, bank accounts, and investments. Without a will, your assets may be distributed according to state laws, which may not align with your wishes.

2. Guardian Designation

If you have minor children, a will allows you to designate a guardian who will be responsible for their care if you and the other parent are unable to do so. This is a crucial decision that can provide peace of mind regarding your children’s future.

3. Executor Appointment

You can name an executor in your will, who will be responsible for managing your estate, paying debts, and ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Choosing a responsible executor is essential for a smooth probate process.

4. Charitable Contributions

If you have charitable intentions, a will allows you to specify donations to your preferred charities or causes, leaving a lasting legacy of support.

What Should a Will Include in New York

In New York, there are specific requirements and considerations for creating a valid will. Here are the key elements that should be included:

1. Clear Identification

Your will should start with a clear statement that it is, indeed, your last will and testament. Include your full legal name, address, and other identifying information to ensure there is no confusion about your intentions.

2. Executor Designation

Name the person you have chosen as the executor of your estate. Ensure that this individual is willing to take on the responsibilities associated with this role.

3. Asset Distribution

Specify how you want your assets to be distributed. Be as detailed as possible, listing beneficiaries and the assets they are to receive. You can also include instructions for specific bequests, such as heirlooms or charitable donations.

4. Guardian for Minor Children

If you have minor children, name a guardian to care for them in the event that both parents are unable to do so. Discuss your choice with the designated guardian to ensure their willingness to accept this responsibility.

5. Residuary Clause

Include a residuary clause to address any assets that may not have been specifically mentioned in your will. This clause ensures that any remaining assets are distributed according to your overall wishes.

6. Witness Signatures

In New York, your will should be signed by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries named in the will. Their signatures validate the document and help prevent disputes regarding its authenticity.

7. Notarization

While notarization is not required for a will to be valid in New York, it can add an extra layer of security and make the probate process smoother. It’s recommended to have your will notarized if possible.

Consult with an Attorney

Creating a will that meets all legal requirements and accurately reflects your wishes is a complex task. It’s highly advisable to consult with an experienced attorney, like those at Morgan Legal Group, who can guide you through the process, answer your questions, and ensure that your will is legally sound.


Creating a will is a responsible and compassionate act that provides clarity and peace of mind for you and your loved ones. At Morgan Legal Group, we are dedicated to helping individuals in New York City create wills that accurately reflect their wishes and stand up to legal scrutiny.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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