A will is, without a doubt, one of the most important estate planning documents you can create. A will articulates whom you want to inherit your assets when you pass on. Without one, it would be upon the government to decide the fate of your hard-earned assets.
However, for your will to serve its intended purpose, it must be valid. If there are doubts regarding the validity of your will, someone can challenge and have it thrown out by the probate court. And you definitely do not want this to happen. Therefore, here are costly mistakes that you need to avoid when creating your will.
Failing to sign or witness your will
For a will to be valid, it must be duly signed by the testator in the presence of witnesses. New York law also allows the testator to nominate an agent to sign their name in their presence. The agent signing the will on behalf of the testator must also append their signature on the will document. Still, it is important that the will is witnessed and signed by at least two witnesses.
Lacking testamentary capacity
While making your will, you must understand the reasons for doing so and its implications. You must also understand the extent of the assets you are including in your will as well as your heirs. This is known as a testamentary capacity. The ravages of old age can make your testamentary capacity a question, so you may want to get a doctor’s letter that shows you are of sound mind.
Caving to undue influence
Undue influence happens when someone close to the testator, such as their new lover or caregiver, pressures them to make or revise an existing will in a manner that favors them. Sometimes, the testator may be presented with a will disguised as some other document to sign. You can prevent questions of undue influence by seeing your attorney on your own (not with your heir present) and clearly articulating the reason for your decisions in a letter or within the will itself.
A will is a crucial estate planning document. Find out how you can create and sign a will that effectively reflects your wishes and interests.