Looking to achieve the ultimate Empire State of mind? While this might not be the obvious answer, consider putting your Will and other estate planning documents in state. If you plan to make an online Will in New York, make sure to satisfy the specific requirements set forth by state law in order for your Will to be valid. By doing so, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are protected, and that important matters won’t be left up to chance. This guide provides an overview of what you need to know about making a Will online in the Empire State.
What You Need to Know About Making a Will Online in New York
The process of creating a valid Will in New York is determined by state statutes. The laws regarding the execution of a Will can be found in the New York Code, Execution of Wills, Section 3-2.1.
An online Will can be valid in New York so long as the above legal requirements are satisfied. Trust & Will breaks down these legal requirements over the next several sections by answering some frequently asked questions on the topic.
How Much Does a Will Cost in NY?
A Will in New York can cost roughly in the range of $300 to $1,000. This cost varies widely depending on three factors: the method of execution, complexity of the estate, and attorney fees (if you choose to work with one.)
For example, a person with a particularly robust or complex estate plan, or who has several unique provisions may hire one of the most specialized estate planning attorneys in the state. This person’s estate planning costs will likely be in the higher range. The cost may even rise to several thousand dollars if they plan to establish a Trust.
However, many people have relatively simple estates with straightforward objectives. Trust & Will’s online estate planning platform provides an affordable alternative that won’t break your bank. You can create your state-specific Will through our platform at a fraction of the cost.
Are Online Wills Valid in New York?
Yes, online Wills are legal in New York so long as you satisfy the general requirements of executing a valid Will:
You must be at least 18 years of age
You must be of sound mind
The Will must be in writing
You must sign the Will at the end of the document
You must have two attesting witnesses
Trust & Will is a comprehensive estate planning platform that will help you create a legally valid New York Will online by guiding you through easy prompts and steps. Note that you have to print out your online Will before you sign it, as the Empire State does not recognize digital-only Wills at this time. We will discuss this more in a following section that goes over the requirements for online Wills.
Can I Write My Own Will in New York?
Yes, you can write your own Will in New York. There are multiple ways to write a Will, including writing your own Last Will and Testament or partnering with an attorney to draft your Will for you.
Writing your Will on your own may leave you vulnerable to errors and pitfalls that could render your wishes legally unenforceable. However, you may not wish to work with an attorney. Some individuals cite reasons such as wanting to keep their private information to themselves, or finding attorney fees cost-prohibitive.
Whatever the reason may be, an alternative solution to consider is creating an online Will using a trustworthy platform. For example, Trust & Will’s estate planning platform offers state-specific estate plans so you can have peace of mind knowing that your Will is compliant in New York and will obtain the desired goals of your legacy. We also offer bank-level security to protect your private information.
What are the Requirements for an Online Will to Be Valid in New York?
In order for an online Will to be valid in New York, it must satisfy the following requirements:
The Will must be in writing.
The Testator (the person writing the Will) must be at least 18 years old and be of sound mind.
The Testator must sign the Will in front of two attesting witnesses.
These witnesses must be competent, meaning they are capable of making decisions and have the capacity to reason.
After they see the Testator sign the Will, the witnesses must also sign the Will.
The Will must be printed on paper. While several states allow digital Wills, New York does not currently recognize digital-only Wills. Online Wills must be printed out.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Will in New York?
No, you do not need a lawyer to make a Will in New York. Generally speaking, Empire State laws do not require you to hire a lawyer to create or execute a valid Will. However, you may want to consult an estate planning professional for advice if you have a large estate or special conditions that you wish to meet.
How Do I Sign an Online Will in New York?
Here are the steps to follow for signing and finalizing your online Will in New York:
Print out your Will
Sign your Will at the end of the document in front of two witnesses
Have your witnesses sign your Will at the end of the document within 30 days of them either witnessing you sign it or hearing you acknowledge your signature. They also must include their addresses.
(Optional): Sign a notarized affidavit to make your Will self-proving
Here is a special consideration to note:
A surviving spouse can file a “right of election” in New York if they don’t inherit assets equal to the monetary amount of their elective share.
While you may sign and execute your Will at a single point in time, certain life events or special circumstances may necessitate a change in your final wishes.
Luckily, maintaining an online Will through a platform like Trust & Will can make revising and updating your existing Will a more seamless experience. We will mail you your documents once you are satisfied so that you can proceed with the signing, witnessing, and execution of your Will.
Do Wills in New York Need to be Notarized?
No, a Will does not have to be notarized in order for it to be legally valid in New York. However, it is an optional action step that you can take if you wish for your Will to be self-proving.
To do so, you and your witnesses must go to a notary public. After confirming your identities, you will make sworn statements and sign an affidavit. The affidavit is notarized and attached to the Will. This essentially proves that the notary knows who you are and confirms that each person was aware that they were signing the Will.
If your Will is presented to the probate court, then they must validate it. If the Will is already self-proved, then the court won’t have to call upon the witnesses to testify regarding the Will’s validity. This can help minimize potential issues and allow the probate process to proceed more quickly.
Who Can Witness a Will in New York?
Any competent adult can witness a Will in New York. However, a Testator should be careful not to select a beneficiary (an interested party) as a witness. While an interested witness won’t automatically invalidate a Will, this could create a conflict of interest. It is generally advised to select a disinterested party to witness your Will to avoid any challenges.
How to Create New York Last Will and Testament Online
The Empire State does not currently recognize digital-only Wills, although this could change in the future. In the meantime, you can still create your Last Will and Testament online, so long as you print it out for signing. This is a convenient and affordable alternative to estate planning using traditional methods.
With this in mind, here is an overview of the steps of creating an online Will in New York:
Select a trusted online estate planning platform, service, or template.
Draft your Will
Review and finalize your Will
Print out your Will
Sign the Will
Obtain signatures from two competent witnesses
Optional: get your Will notarized if you want it to be self-proving
Upload the Will to a secure storage space online, such as a digital vault
Store the hard copy in a secure physical space, such as a safe
Review and revise your Will regularly
What Can I Include in an Online Will in New York?
The contents of a Last Will and Testament vary widely based on an individual’s personal circumstances, as well as the objectives they wish to achieve. Must estate planning platforms such as Trust & Will will guide you through a series of questions and prompts to help you create your Will.
Here are some ideas on what can be included in your online Will:
An inventory of your property and assets
A list of your Beneficiaries
Gifts made to specific individuals or organizations
Your nominated Executor who should handle your estate
A Guardian for any minor or dependent children (or pets)
A named individual to manage property for dependent children
Last wishes regarding your remains, funeral, burial, cremation, etc.
Any final instructions or notes for loved ones
Create Your Online Will in New York Today
Can you create a Will online in New York? Yes, absolutely! Creating your Will online, no matter your location, is a convenient and affordable alternative to working with an estate planning attorney. The key to successfully creating an online Will in New York is making sure that you satisfy state-specific requirements.
This guide provided an overview of the online Will requirements in the Empire State that you should be aware of.
At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement options today!
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Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.