New York Will and Testament Lawyer
Concepts of Estate Planning are unfamiliar to most people, until they are called upon to create their own estate plan, or handle the estate of a loved one who has passed away. Most people are familiar with the term “Will and Testament,” but may not know exactly what should be included in this document. There is also a common misconception that a Will and Testament is not necessary required for a small estate. A Will and Testament can be a very simple, handwritten note (called a Holographic Will), or something far more involved, depending on the size and complexity of the estate. If you are handling the estate of a loved one, or starting your own estate plan, contact a New York Estate Lawyer for advice and guidance. There are various formalities and legal details involved with creating and interpreting a Will and Testament. Failure to follow certain legal guidelines can render the document invalid.
Often people will ask a New York Estate Lawyer if a simple handwritten or Holographic Will is valid. Generally, the validity of a handwritten Will depends on the state law involved. In New York, a Holographic Will can be valid; however there are restrictions on who can use one. It is important to note also that how the Will and Testament is signed, and/or witnessed, among other things, can have a bearing on its validity as well, so it is important to speak with a New York Probate Lawyer to ensure that the legal details are attended to.
When someone passes away, a Probate case is filed with the court. At the beginning of this process, a New York Probate Lawyer will submit the Will and Testament of the decedent (the person who has passed) to the court as part of the Probate process. Part of the court’s job will be to authenticate the Will and Testament. Probate is a court process where an executor will be appointed and whose primary task is to pay the debts of the estate, to gather and inventory the assets involved, and distribute the assets to the heirs as set forth in the Will and Testament. If for some reason the decent did not have a valid Will and Testament, the courts would be required to distribute the estate via a rule of law called Intestate Succession. It is also not uncommon at some point in the process for disgruntled family members to come forward, and take exception to how the estate is being handled. They may raise questions as to the validity of the Will and Testament, known as a Will Contest.
If you are creating your own estate plan, or if you are involved in handling a family member’s estate, including a Probate Litigation matter or Estate Administration issue it is recommended that you contact a New York Estate Lawyer for guidance. The laws governing this area of law are ever changing, and there are many details that need to be addressed to ensure a great result. Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC have experienced lawyers ready to help, and will provide you with a free case consultation with your first appointment. There is an office location near you, whether you are in New York City, the surrounding boroughs, Nassau County or Suffolk County. Contact our office today at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW.