14 Ridgedale Avenue, Suite 254
Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927

Rules for a Valid Will in New York

A Will Must be Witnessed

In the state of New York holographic wills are generally not valid and will not be enforced except in limited emergency situations.    A holographic will is handwritten and not witnessed. This type of will would be easy to create after a testator’s death which is why it is generally not allowed.  A will must be signed and the testator’s signature must be witnessed by two other people. The witnesses must also sign an affidavit swearing to the fact that they did witness the signature and the testator had the mental capacity to understand what she was signing.

Mental Capacity Required

New York does allow a person who is unable to sign her own name to have someone help her with her signature as long as she has the mental capacity to understand what she is doing and can clearly express her intentions to the person signing on her behalf. This assistance in signing a will is referred to as “a guiding hand”. An “X” may also be allowed if the testator is physically unable to sign her own name.

Getting Legal Help

The best way to avoid any questions of validity is to have an experienced estate planning attorney draft and execute the will. Experienced estate planning attorney Elga Goodman can help you make a plan to protect your assets and your loved ones.  Call us today at 973-841-5111.

Posted in: New York Estate Planning