New York Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – New York

Note:    This law summary is not intended to be all inclusive of the law of wills in New York, but does provide basic and other information.  It does not include a discussion of handwritten wills.

Who  may  make  wills: Every person eighteen years of age or over, of sound mind and memory, may by will dispose of real and personal property. 3-1.1

What property may be disposed of by will: Every estate in property, real, personal and otherwise, may be devised or bequeathed. 3-1.2.

Execution   and   attestation  of  wills;  formal requirements: A will  must  be  in  writing,  and  executed  and attested in the following manner:
1.    It  shall  be signed at the end thereof by the testator. No effect shall be given to any matter, other than the attestation clause, which follows the signature of the testator, or  to  any  matter  preceding  such  signature which was added subsequently to the execution of the will.
2.    The signature  of the testator shall be affixed to the will in the presence of each of the attesting witnesses, or shall be  acknowledged  by  the  testator to each of them to have been affixed by him or by his direction.  The testator may either sign in the presence of, or  acknowledge his  signature  to  each attesting witness separately.
3.    The testator shall, at some time during the ceremony or ceremonies of execution and attestation, declare to each of the attesting witnesses that the instrument to which his signature has been affixed is his will.
4.    There  shall  be  at least two attesting witnesses, who shall, within one thirty day period, both attest the  testator`s signature,  as  affixed or acknowledged in their presence, and at the request of the testator, sign their names and affix their residence  addresses  at  the  end of the will. The failure of a witness to affix his address shall not affect the validity of the will. 3.2.1

Competence of attesting witness who is beneficiary; application to nuncupative will: An attesting witness to a will to whom a beneficial disposition or appointment of property is made is a competent witness  and  compellable to testify respecting the execution of such will as if no such disposition or appointment had been made, subject to the following:    Any such disposition or appointment made to an attesting witness is void unless there are, at the time of execution and attestation, at least two other attesting witnesses to the will who receive no beneficial disposition or appointment  thereunder. 3.3.2.

Revocation of wills; effect on codicils: A revocation or alteration, if intended by the testator, may be effected in the following manner only:

(1)  A will or any part thereof may be revoked or altered by:

(A)    Another will.
(B)    A writing  of  the  testator clearly  indicating  an intention to effect such revocation or alteration, executed  with the  formalities prescribed by this article for the execution and attestation of a will.

(2)  A will may also be revoked by an act of burning, tearing, cutting, cancellation, obliteration, or other mutilation or destruction performed by the testator or another person, in the presence and by the direction of the testator. Sec. 3-4.1

Inside New York Last Will and Testament Law