To create a valid will in New York, you must comply with the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law or “EPTL.” The New York EPTL governs all wills and trusts drafted by New York residents. Once your executor or custodian probates your will, the New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act or “SCPA” govern the procedural parts of your estate administration. Other various state, federal and common laws may apply to your will. Generally, the state statute governs most aspects of wills and estates in New York.
What do you need to do to create a valid will in New York? At a minimum, your will must be in writing, and you must comply with the statutory testamentary formalities established by the New York EPTL. In very limited situations, an oral will may be valid, but because of the limitations, we recommend drafting a written will. You must also sign your will in front of two independent witnesses who will also sign your written will. You and your witnesses will include addresses in your will and participate in a “will signing ceremony.” During the ceremony, you will state that you are signing your will. According to the NY EPTL, you must be at least 18 years old and legally competent to sign a contract or will. This means that you are of sound mind and legally capable of understanding that the document that you are signing is your will.
Check out our blog tomorrow to read Part 2 of What are the Necessary Ingredients of a Valid Will.