and Your Family
New York Last Will and Testament
A New York Estate Lawyer will tell you that a Last Will and Testament is a document where a person (Testator) sets out their wishes regarding the distribution of their property upon their death. The document may specify that the decedent’s property goes to their children or spouse for instance, or that a portion of their estate may be left to charity. Depending on the types of assets that are left behind and the wishes of the Testator, a Will can be fairly straight forward, or quite complicated. Either way, it is extremely important to have this document in place prior to the time of death. The Last Will and Testament is an important document, but in the context of Estate Planning, it should also be looked at as one element. It might be that because of the Testator’s unique situation they should also have a Trust, or perhaps an Advanced Health Directive. It is important to speak with a New York Last Will and Testament Lawyer to ensure that the Decedent’s rights are protected.
Often, people are under the mistaken impression that a Will is something that can be jotted down on a piece of paper, or drafted very informally. This is known as a Holographic Will. A Holographic Will is where the Will is in the handwriting of the Testator. The validity of this type of Will varies from state to state. It is important to note that when creating a Will, there are various pitfalls that can occur, which is why it is important to consult with an experienced New York Will Lawyer. State laws vary, and there are technical rules that need to be attended to in the Will’s creation, such as how it is executed (signed), and whether or not the document needs to signed in the presence of others (witnessed).
When a loved one passes away, a Probate case is usually opened. It is during this process where the Will is reviewed by the court and its’ authenticity verified. If for some reason the Will is not found to be valid, the inheritance process will be dictated by the laws of intestacy, (also known as Intestate Succession). It is also important to note that there is often a narrow time frame within which the Will can be submitted to the Probate court, usually thirty days. The court will also appoint an Executor to the estate, and the estate will be distributed.
Unfortunately, the death of a loved one can cause emotions to run extremely high. A New York Probate Lawyer can attest to the fact that it is not uncommon to see families end up at odds over a Will. Some family members may take exception to what they were left in a Will, or that someone else received something they did not. The validity of a Will can be questioned, which is known as a Will Contest. These matters can become extremely emotional and hard to handle. If you have found yourself in Probate Litigation due to a Will Contest or other probate related matter, it is important to contact a New York Estate Litigation Lawyer from the office of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC. We have qualified lawyers who are ready to help give you guidance as well as a free, no-obligation consultation. Wherever you are in New York, there is an office location nearby. We have convenient locations not only throughout New York City including Manhattan and Queens and all its’ boroughs, and Long Island in both Suffolk County and Nassau County as well. Contact us today; we are waiting to take your call at 800.696.9529.