What is a Last Will and Testament


A New York Last Will and Testament, when prepared and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind with legal responsibility for his- or herself, is a formal document that specifies how their assets or estate will be managed and distributed after their death. The person who dies is formally referred to as the decedent. If the decedent has minor children, the Last Will and Testament may also be used to designate who they want to care for their children and who they wish to handle their childrenís inheritance/finances until each child comes of age (usually 18, but you can designate a different age) to handle their finances on their own.

In a Last Will and Testament, the decedent usually also names a personal representativeóor co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting together in this capacity)óto manage the matters of the estate. The personal representative is the person who gathers all of the information about the decedentís debts and assets, pays outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedentís property is distributed as specified in the Will, so this is a job with a lot of responsibility, and the personal representative selected is usually someone the decedent really trusts to follow through on the details and with his or her wishes.

If a person dies without having a valid Last Will and Testament (which usuallyóin most statesómeans it must be properly witnessed, as wellónot just signed), someone will usually be appointed by the court to be the personal representative and will pay the decedentís debts, liquidizing assets as necessary to do so. Then the remaining assets will be distributed among the decedentís heirs according to the laws of the state the decedent lived in.

In some states, if one spouse dies leaving behind a husband or wife, that living spouse will inherit all of the decedentís property in the absence of a Last Will and Testament stating to the contrary. In other cases, the decedent may have specified a particular beneficiary to inherit a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will dictate who receives those assets in the absence of a New York Last Will and Testament.

The important thing to note is that anyone who wishes to designate how their assets will be distributed after their death should prepare and properly execute a Last Will and Testament to ensure their wishes are known and honored. If they donít, they may be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state in which they reside at the time of their death, or a court of law as to how their final affairs will be settled.  New York free information on last will and testament forms.

Requirements for a Last Will and Testament (New York State)

Last Will and Testament is the report on what will happen with your property after your death. One more basic function of this paper is that it establishes the order of inheritance of oneís estate. This is not the one and only estate-planning tool, but perhaps the basic one.

Last Will and Testament is a multi-purpose document helping to solve the numerous issues after oneís death. All in all, composing a Will is vital for planning to share the assets. A testator, or a person who composes a Will and leaves the inheritance, can divide their assets among their relatives, friends, or even pets.

New York Last Will and Testament allows a testator to appoint a guardian for underage children. Additionally, it permits establishing special funds to take care of them or even pets. A person called a trustee performs the functions of the beneficiary here.

Sharing the estate of a passed-away person is called probate. In New York State, the probate starts just as the executor registers a petition with the surrogate court. They request letters testamentary. The executor can share assets in the Will in case they have no debts, and they paid the funeral expenses. If the gross value of the assets doesnít exceed 30 thousand dollars (excluding some kinds of property), there is a facilitated probate process. A testator must make a request for such a procedure.

A person who didnít leave a Will is called intestate. As stated in the Law of New York, if a person is outlived by a marriage partner, then they get all their estate. If they donít have a marriage partner but are outlived by children, then they automatically inherit all assets.

In case a testator has both children and a marriage partner, then a marriage partner gets the first 50 thousand dollars and a half of the property. The other half goes to children. If a deceased has neither a marriage partner nor children, then the property goes to parents. The same scheme works if they only have siblings, grandparents, etc. The laws concern distant relatives and, in some cases, not only grandparents, aunts, cousins, and others, but also adoptive and foster children.

However, there are some objects that canít be listed in the Last Will in New York State. Among these is the property that doesnít belong only to you, namely, joint property. You can only bequeath the estate under your name. One more remarkable thing about the New York Law is that marriage partners can take part in voting and ďwinĒ a part of the assets.

Here is the list of the main requirements for the New York Will:

  1. A testator must not be younger than eighteen years old;

  2. This person must be conscious and able to make balanced decisions;

  3. The testator must leave a signature on the Will and should state their address;

However, it can be the other person in the testatorís name and presence, directed by them personally. This person isnít stated as a witness;

  1. The Will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses within thirty days. They should also state their addresses;

  2. The will must be done in writing with the exception of nuncupative wills;

  3. This document helps share property not only to individuals but also to partnerships, associations, courts, corporations, New York State, and other entities.

A New York Last Will can be changed with the help of a special document called Codicil. The formalities for a Codicil must be just the same as for the original Will. However, this document is designed only to bring about small changes. If thereís a need to call away from the Will, a new one must be composed with the same formalities.

The fact of revocation must be stated in a new Will. In this paper, the testator has to use the introductory phrase such as: ďBy an act of cutting/burning/cancellation.Ē



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