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Old 11-06-2011, 07:56 AM
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how should a will signing be conducted and what steps should be followed?
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:29 AM
Location: Former LI'er Now a Rehoboth Beach Bunny
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Originally Posted by thiermx View Post
how should a will signing be conducted and what steps should be followed?

Can you be a bit more specific. Is this your "estate" planning and you are signing a will? What do you mean by how should a signing be conducted? or Are you involved in or you feel you should have been involved in an estate and you were left out and are questioning the validity of the decedents will?

You need to be much more specific for any assistance from the board but even then, I would urge you to seek an attorneys advice.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:35 AM
Location: Islip,NY
16,935 posts, read 19,680,616 times
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You need to contact an Estate Attorney. That's what we did when we had our wills drawn up. I have the name of someone. If interested DM me. My mother inlaw did hers through them as well. He's very good and knowledgable. He is located in Saint james.
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:59 PM
Location: Huntington
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Take lubby's advice. Having a lawyer draw up your will is the best thing to do. It will cost you some money, but in the long run, all of your wishes will be carried out, and everything will be written correctly in legalese.

Sometimes people go to a local stationery store and buy a do-it-yourself fill-in-the-blank type of will. There are many problems with doing that - first thing that comes to mind is some people think you can write anything in a will at all, even if it's not legal. People also put together poorly written wills with the understanding that the family will do what's "right," no matter how assets are divided up in the will. But they don't think about all the ramifications of what they actually put in print and what can go wrong in the expectation department.

For instance, say someone wants to leave their house to their daughters with each receiving 50% of its value. The soon-to-be deceased has a talk with the older daughter, tells the older daughter they're expected to sell the house and give half of the proceeds to her younger sister. Sounds reasonable, right? So, the person writing the will puts instructions in the will to leave the house to the older daughter assuming she will do what has been discussed. Case closed. Or is it?

Here's one way the scenario can play out: Person who wrote the will dies. The will says the house is to be left to the older daughter. The older daughter turns into a greedy $#%^&* and keeps the house for herself and moves into it. That's perfectly legal - after all the house was left to her in the will. There's not a thing the younger daughter can do to force her to sell the house and split the proceeds 50/50.

Another possible outcome: Older daughter sells the house as agreed, but keeps the proceeds all for herself. Again, it's perfectly legal for her to do this since the will stated she was to inherit (and only her). The younger daughter can't go after her older sister for the money even though she knows about the deal that was made about receiving 50% from the sale of the house because it didn't state in the will she was to get 50% of the proceeds.

Writing a will needs to be very specific and takes lots of thought. A good estate lawyer will know what questions to ask, and the person who is having it prepared needs to know exactly how they want things taken care of when they're back on the other side.

Last edited by AndreaII; 11-06-2011 at 06:16 PM..
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:15 PM
Location: Islip,NY
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If a will is done properly it will makes things alot easier, so that when the person dies their wishes are carried out and the person in charge (executor of the will) knows who gets what. If I die first then everything goes to my husband and vice versa. if you have kids then it goes to them. You are better off contacting an estate attorney like I said. I am not an authority on this. You would first need to assign an executor for your will, then someone to act as your medical advocate in case you cannot make those decisions. There is alot invloved. We have a living will too and healthcare proxy. Without any of this in writing and notorized I believe the estate could go into probate. I think we may have a lawyer or 2 on CD that could better explain all of this.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:55 PM
Location: Long Island
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Exclamation Probate, Wills, Trusts, Health Care Proxies, Durable Power of Attorney

  • The process of legally establishing the validity of a will before a judicial authority.
  • Judicial certification of the validity of a will.
  • An authenticated copy of a will so certified.
tr.v., -bat·ed, -bat·ing, -bates.
To establish the validity of (a will) by probate.

Of or relating to probate or to a probate court: probate law; a probate judge.

If you have no will, you die "intestate":

(ĭn-tĕs'tāt', -tĭt) Law.
  • Having made no legal will: an intestate parent.
  • Not disposed of by a legal will: intestate lands.
One who dies without a legal will.

If you die "intestate", or without a will, you will still "have a will" - the law of the State you're in will govern the distribution of your assets!

Either way, you go through probate.

One way to avoid probate is by putting everything into a Trust; can be a Living Trust, which is revocable (you can change it), or an irrevocable trust (there are many types), which is pretty much written "in stone". Details are not for this forum, but a discussion with the proper attorney. Trusts generally are more expensive than a will.

In New York, the Health Care Proxy is the governing document for someone you designate to make medical decisions for you when you're unable to. The Living Will is the instrument that spells out what those medical decisions are (some Health Care Proxies incorporate both). You do not need an attorney for these documents, but if you're at the attorney's office anyway, you could do the whole thing at the same time, or prepare it ahead of time and have the attorney look it over.
Here's a link to a Health Care Proxy from NY State which is generally recognized by major health institutions in New York State:

One other document you should consider having is a "durable power of attorney"; authorization for someone to make financial decisions on your behalf when you're not able to--can be very important!! If you don't prepare this, the State will take over and appoint someone, not necessarily someone you'd want!

As a CFP(R), I've often dealt with clients who wanted to use shortcuts, but most listened to advice and consulted an Estate Planning attorney. I am not an attorney and am not giving legal advice, more like "educated practical advice" after having sat through countless hours of classes.

I can recommend several good ones, depending on where you're located. I think the closest to you may be in East Meadow?
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:40 PM
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A will is only necessary if you have property, such as real property, jewelry, art collection, etc. and it will go into probate. If all of your assets are basically liquid, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, etc. then just name your beneficiary on the certificates and no will is necessary and there is no probate. If you die intestate in NYS, 50 percent goes to spouse and the other 50 percent goes to the children to be divided. The living will, power of attorney, etc. are all separate optional documents which you can have prepared at the same time, if you wish.
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:26 AM
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To clarify, if you die intestate in New York and you have a spouse and child(ren), the first $50,000.00 of your estate goes to your spouse, then the remaining assets of your estate (the residue) is split 50/50 between your spouse and the child(ren).

As an aside, you can't disinherit your spouse even if you draft a will that does so - your spouse is always entitled to 1/3rd of your estate.

For a lot of people, their house is really their only asset by the time they pass away, and because it passes to their children through intestacy, they don't have a will drafted. One of the issues I've seen happen where this has caused problems is after a parent's death, where one of the children was living with the parent and taking care of them. Once the parent dies, and the children all receive an equal share of the house, the children who weren't living with the parent immediately want to sell the house, effectively throwing the other child out of the house. It's a shame because you have to imagine that the deceased parent would have wanted the child who cared for them in their final years to be able to at least live in the family home for a few more years, and there are ways to accomplish that with a will.

As to the OP's initial question, which I think was how to properly execute a will, you need two witnesses - they cannot be beneficiaries of the will, we use our office staff or other attorneys in our building (a benefit to using attorneys is that as long as they wish to remain registered in NY, they must keep their address on file with the state, so if you need to find them later on to testify you can locate them pretty easily), the testator (person whose will it is) has to either sign in front of the witnesses or acknowledge that the signature at the end of the will is theirs, to the witnesses. The witnesses sign an affidavit, and now there is a second affidavit you can have the witnesses sign which acts in lieu of personal testimony as long as the will is not contested. Anything written under the signature of a will is considered invalid. The testator needs to state to the witnesses that the document they are signing/have signed is their last will and testament.

This should not be construed as legal advice, I'm writing this off the top of my head and do not have the statute in front of me. OP, you really should contact an attorney, a simple will shouldn't be too expensive, and it gives you peace of mind. There are also a lot of little details when it comes to Wills which are very easy to overlook, for example, if you remove the staples from a will, the Surrogate's Court will most likely not probate it.
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