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New York Last Will and Testament

New York Last Will and Testament


Jennifer Mcgee


Updated on  

January 3, 2023

9 minutes


Your New York Last Will and Testament is essential to your family's well-being and financial stability after you pass away. It enables you to decide what would happen to your estate rather than leaving it in a stranger's hands. Furthermore, it'd help you make decisions about who would be your children's guardian or the executor when you pass away. Either way, you shouldn't leave this task until the next time and handle your estate management now.

Read more about what a will is and why estate planning is essential

Requirements for a New York Last Will and Testament 

  • Written and Oral: Generally,  New York last will and testament should be written and on paper. It cannot be audio, video, or other digital file forms. However, New York allows oral wills in certain circumstances discussed ahead.
  • Must be at least 18 or above
  • Sound mind and memory: The testator should understand the process, nature of their property, and relationships with the beneficiaries. They must have a sound mind and memory to make a valid legal will.
  • Signed by the testator: You must sign your New York last will and testament before your witnesses to make it legal.
  • Signed by the witnesses: You must have two disinterested witnesses for the will. They should sign it before you as well.
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“Should have done this before, had made it up to be really hard in my head. This was super easy!”

Who can be your witnesses for a New York Last Will and Testament? 

You must have at least two witnesses for your New York last will that follow these conditions:

  1. They should at least be 18 years of age.
  2. The witnesses should not be beneficiaries of the will. If you select a beneficiary as a witness, there must be at least two other disinterested witnesses for your New York last will and testament.

New York rules for an oral will

New York allows an oral last will in certain special circumstances. It is spoken to a person or persons. An oral will should also have at least two witnesses. Here's who can make an oral will:

  • A member of the U.S.A. armed forces who is in military or naval service during an armed conflict 
  • Someone who accompanies an armed force in military or naval service during an armed conflict 
  • A mariner at sea

New York rules for a personal representative or an executor 

You should name a trusted person as your executor for the New York last will. However, they should follow these conditions to be eligible for the role:

  1. Must be at least 18 or above
  2. They should be capable of performing the job, i.e., of a sound mind.
  3. They shouldn't have any felony convictions.
Last Will and Testament New York

Last will and Testament Notarization in New York 

You don't need to notarize your New York last will to make it legal. However, you should consider adding a self-proving affidavit to speed up the probate process. Here's how you can do that:

  • Find a notary public to make a legal self-proving affidavit.
  • You and your witnesses should go to the notary and sign the affidavit, stating who you are and that you knew you're signing a will.

Last Will Revocation in New York 

You could follow any of these steps to revoke your New York last will and testament:

  • Destroying the previous will by tearing, burning, shredding.
  • Asking someone else to destroy the last will in front of you and two witnesses 
  • Making a new legal will
  • Making a new document stating the revocation of the previous will

You need to follow the same conditions for issuing a new will or document revoking the previous one as you did for making a legal last will.

Last Will Amendment rules New York.

If you need to make some simple changes to your New York last will, you could do it with a Codicil. It allows you to amend your will and avoid revoking it.

However, you must follow the same conditions to make a legal codicil for witnesses and signing. If you want to make multiple amendments, it's better to create a new will and revoke the previous one.

What happens if you don't have a will in New York?

Case What happens?
Has a spouse but no children Spouse inherits everything
Has children but no spouse Children inherit everything
Has children and a spouse Spouse gets the first 50,000$ along with one-half of the remaining estate. The children inherit everything else
Has parents (no spouse, no kids) Parents inherit everything
Has siblings (no parents, spouse, or kids) Siblings inherit everything
 No family State of New York gets the estate

Last Will and Testament New York Free Template

You can quickly create a simple estate plan by downloading a Last Will and Testament New York free template. It will be the best option if you don't have a large estate or complicated finances. You could check out the template and follow the necessary requirements to make your new New York last will and testament. Once you go through the details and follow the required steps:

  1. Connect on TrulyWill and create your account.
  2. Discuss any issues or complications about your finances and personal relationships with our attorneys.
  3. Sign or notarize the document, depending on your state requirements. 

This template and sample last will and testament would allow you to examine what your will would look like. You can change the will template depending on your personal preferences for estate distribution. 

Some instances where it would be prudent to consult our experts before finalizing your will would be when you have a high net worth or complicated family and personal relationships. We also provide additional services for those unique requests:

  • Online expert support: You can connect with our experts online and clear your doubts.
  • Attorney support: For some specific and unique requirements, we also offer additional attorney support services for your will and trust.

If you're facing any of these issues, it's essential to consult an expert before proceeding. They could personally help you out with any doubts and create a solid and legally enforceable New York last will and testament. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What would happen if someone passes away without a will?

The state's intestacy laws will be followed if someone dies without a will. The interested parties, like the spouse or children, would have to go through a probate process to get their share in the estate.

Can I write down my wishes and consider them a legal will?

Several states do not allow a self-written will unless you've followed the requirements. It would always be better to create a legal will by following all your state rules.

What would happen to my estate if I had no immediate family?

If you create a will before you pass away, your estate will go to the beneficiaries you've mentioned. However, if you die without a will, it could go to your extended family or even the state if there are no relatives.

Do I need to have a certain amount of money to make a will?

No, there's no minimum limit of money you need to have to make your last will. It would dispose of any assets you leave to the beneficiaries.

Is it an expensive procedure to make a will?

Traditional will-making processes can be pretty expensive. However, with online tools and platforms, you can do it in an affordable way.
Jennifer Mcgee
Parent to five young children. Expert in Estate Planning, Probate, and Family Law Matters. Volunteer with Victim’s Advocates in the local sheriff's department...
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Jennifer Mcgree
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