Can You Change or Cancel an Existing Will in NY?

A will is a legal document that serves to outline your wishes in regards to how you would like your children to be cared for and the distribution of your assets upon your death. This document is imperative in guaranteeing that your wishes and best interests are met to the greatest extent possible. Without a will present, the court will be responsible for making the decisions concerning your assets and loved ones. In most cases, the court’s decision does not align with the plans you initially had in mind. A will is not permanent, for you must be able to make changes in relation to the changes that take place in your life. With the passing of time or the occurrence of any major event that changes your financial assets you may make changes to your will that reflect these changes in your life. In the case that an individual stated as a beneficiary within the will passes away, you will need to update your will. Additionally, in the case that your financial assets have grown, you will need to update your will to create a plan for those assets. Changing a will is not difficult as long as you have the proper guidance and support of an esteemed Estate Planning Attorney. The lawyer will assist you through the process of making changes and advise you on which changes would be most beneficial for your specific situation.

Making Changes to an Existing Will in NY

 How do you revoke a will in NY?

Revoking a will can be accomplished by destroying the will and creating a new one. Common physical forms of revocation involve shredding the document, burning, or ripping the paperwork. It is extremely important that the testator clearly indicates their intention to revoke the will in a written statement. If your will is not properly destroyed and a new will is not created, then the court may still consider the old will valid. Drafting a new will gives the testator an opportunity to start over from the beginning, meaning this will is going to better reflect your current financial and family situation. An Estate Planning Attorney will guide you through the steps of starting your will over from scratch if you choose to do so. Revoking a will is oftentimes more effective than adding an addendum or using codicils to alter a will because the updated information will all be in one document, rather than in numerous documents. A codicil has the ability to add, remove, or alter specific provisions in your will. The codicil must be properly executed by the attorney or else you risk the changes not being accepted or considered by the court. Revoking a will in order to create a new concise will with all of your updated information is worth the time and money when it comes to planning for your future.

Can a copy of a will be admitted to probate?

According to New York State regulations, in the case that an individual passes away and their original last will and testament cannot be located, a copy of the will may suffice. There are specific qualifications used by the Surrogate's Court in order to admit the copy of the will into probate. Some of these qualifications include ensuring that the will has not been revoked, guaranteeing that the will was properly executed, and the provisions in the will must be proven by two witnesses. In order to ensure that the will was not revoked the court will check if the document was destroyed by physical means, as well as check for documentation of the testator stating that they intend to revoke the will. When a will cannot be located after an individual’s death, it is assumed that the individual had the intention of revoking the will and creating a new one. Therefore, it is important to note that a copy of the will may be admitted to probate as long as the will passes all of the New York State laws.

Should I hire an Estate Attorney if I want to make changes to my will?

When planning to make changes to your will it is greatly recommended that you hire an Estate Planning Attorney because they are very familiar with the will drafting process. An attorney will apply all of the regulations required in your state to guarantee that your will abides by all of the guidelines. In the case that you choose to draft a will without an attorney it is important to note that the will may not be recognized by the court and you could risk dying intestate. When an individual dies without a will, there is no guarantee that the individual’s wishes and best interests will be expressed in the asset distribution process. Without a last will and testament, the surviving spouse inherits the entire probate estate in the case that there are no children or other descendants. The estate will still have to pass through the probate process if it has a value of over $30,000. You should aim to avoid the lengthy probate process in order to save your time and money. In order to best prepare for the future you should hire an Estate Planning Attorney to draft your will and make any changes you feel necessary to guarantee that the court recognizes all of the changes upon your death.

For further estate planning information please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to effectively execute your will, and other important estate planning documents.