What makes a will invalid? 2 pitfalls to be aware of

What makes a will invalid? 2 pitfalls to be aware of

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2024 | Estate Planning

A will is a final act that articulates your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate upon your death. Done right, a will can safeguard your legacy and secure your loved ones’ future – financially speaking. In the absence of one, your estate would be distributed per New York’s intestacy laws, and this might not sit well with you.

For your will to be enforced, however, it has to be valid. Here are instances when the validity of your will can be challenged:

1. When it is improperly executed

Every state has rules that residents must follow when creating their wills. For your will to be valid in New York, you must be at least 18 at the time of signing it. Additionally, the will must be witnessed by at least two other non-interested parties. A will that does not meet these, among other, basic requirements will likely be thrown out by the court.

2. When there are questions regarding your testamentary capacity

A will might be about your personal wishes and what you want to happen to your estate when you die. However, do keep in mind that it is a legal document. For this reason, you must be of sound mind at the time of its creation. This is known as testamentary capacity. In other words, if the court establishes that you were not in sound mind while signing your will and, thus, did not understand the significance of your action, then it may decline to enforce it.

Also, you cannot sign a will under duress or influence of alcohol or other inebriating substances. If this happens, the will might be invalidated.

A will is an essential document that ensures that your estate is distributed according to your wishes. For this to happen, however, your will must be valid.