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Fully understanding all the legal aspects of a will can often be a burdensome task, but is one that should not be taken lightly. While a will simply is a legal document that establishes who will manage your estate and how it will be distributed after you die, mastering a deeper understanding of a will allows you to make the most effective choices for you and your loved ones. One particularly noteworthy clause is the attestation clause, which, while appearing simple, is highly important. As your experienced New York wills and trust lawyer, Jeffrey Weinstein will shed light on the importance of the will’s attestation clause, allowing you to be fully equipt with the necessary knowledge when making your will.
For your will to be effective, it must be executed properly and you must use clear, concise wording throughout the entire document. You must be able to rule out any ambiguities so that your will cannot be misinterpreted against your favor. The provisions of the will providing for dispositions to beneficiaries, as well as the inclusions of significant statutory provisions (including the will’s attestation clause), will allow for a smooth, efficient probate and estate settlement process. If you do not use proper language and terminology, the possibility that your will may be subjected to a will contest and invalidated runs high. Sometimes the witnesses to the will may be dead or have moved and can no longer be reached. If so, there could possibly be great difficulties in obtaining probate if there is no attestation clause.
The act of witnessing a will is an essential element in making sure that your will is validated; this is done with the attestation clause section of your will or affidavit. However, the form that an attestation clause can take varies by state. In New York, the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law Section 3-2.1 lays out the requirements necessary for signing and witnessing a will. The statute has different provisions, which include the important requirement that the will is not only oral, but also written and signed. The will is signed by a disinterested party, which is to say someone who will not inherit anything from the estate. An attestation clause for a deed, will, or affidavit is required by the statutes to have no fewer than two attesting witnesses. It also requires that all writing following the testator’s signature must declare to the witnesses that the paper signed is his will.
The statute requires that there be two or more witnesses, and that they should be disinterested and receive absolutely no benefits under the will. When the will is executed, the witnesses often sign an affidavit which sets forth the basic elements regarding their witnessing of the will. Some examples include saying that the testator was over 18, that they saw the testator sign the will, and that all the witnesses were present when the testator and witnesses signed. This paper is called a self-proving affidavit and is attached at the end of the will. Finally, it helps to expedite the probate of the will, making it an important part of the entire process.
With many years of experience with assisting and advising clients in creating, implementing, and executing legal documents, including wills, Jeffrey Weinstein PC is New York City’s trusted attestation clause attorney. He will make sure all your personal wishes and desires are expressed without room for misinterpretation.