A will is a key estate planning document that helps you dictate how you want your assets distributed to your heirs in the event of your death. Without it, your loved ones will have to go through probate, which takes time, money and can lead to family conflict. They are several types of wills in New York, one of them being a nuncupative will.
Understanding a nuncupative will in New York
A nuncupative will is an oral will that is typically only used in cases of emergency, such as when someone is dying and doesn’t have time to write a will. As a result, it is also referred to as a “deathbed will.”
Validity of a nuncupative will
In New York, you must construct a deathbed will in a certain way, following the state requirements. Failing to do so could be similar to dying without estate planning and wills. The conditions that you must meet include:
• You must be of sound mind, which generally means you understand what property you own and who your natural heirs are.
• Two witnesses must be present when you make the will, but these persons can’t be someone who stands to inherit anything from you.
• It must be made in front of a notary public.
• You must die from the impeding peril for your terms to hold.
Revoking a nuncupative will
In New York, an oral will is only valid for 20 days after the testator, or the person making the will, recovers from the peril. After that period of time, it expires. If you want your nuncupative will to be in effect after you recover, you must put it in writing and have it signed by two witnesses within those 20 days. If you don’t, you can always write a new valid will with new terms.
Creating a nuncupative will is not the best way to ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes after your death. However, it’s better than nothing if you don’t have time to write a will.